Life as an Intern - Business Development Edition
In the past three months, Thorsten Lansmann-Niehaus, Tobias Boldizsar, and Franca Bluhm have done terrific jobs supporting Marius in our Business Development team. Since their internships sadly came to an end, we decided to have a sit-down in their last week at edyoucated. We talked about how they feel about their internships, the team at edyoucated, and what advice they’d give new hires for a seamless start into the edyoucated team.
You could imagine becoming part of our team as well? This post is for you. 🙂
And a quick sidenote, if you haven’t seen it already: Noor previously posted about her thoughts on her Learning Experience Design internship.
The road to edyoucated & first weeks
Great to have you here to talk about your experiences with edyoucated in the past couple of weeks. Let’s start at the top. Can you guys tell us how you got here?
Franca: Sure thing! Coincidently, we all knew at least one of the founders from other organizations, e.g., TechLabs, co-founded by David and Marius. Another similarity we all have is that all three of us were explicitly looking for opportunities in a start-up.
Tobi: That’s right! Funny coincidence. I guess one thing we never talked about before is the application process. When I first saw the open position as a Business Development intern and decided to apply, I reached out to Marius with my CV and a short introduction via Email. A few days later, I received an invitation for my remote interview that was the first of two obstacles to take during the application process. The interview itself lasted in total more or less 60 minutes. Also, it was genuinely the most exciting and insightful interview I had so far. This was mainly due to the many in-depth discussions about my earlier experiences, character, and individual perspectives on several problems. About one week later, I received congrats for successfully passing the first hurdle and an invitation to try myself on the second and last round. In contrast to the previous interview, I now faced a practical task that was about a real challenge edyoucated had to tackle at this moment. I was asked to develop a creative approach to solving it by being restricted to the final presentation format – a short loom-video. I, for instance, chose to visualize my thoughts with a short Powerpoint presentation. And, finally, I seem to have done a good enough job to get here. 😂
Thanks for the insights, guys. So, what was next? What were your first couple of days and weeks like? What did you think of our team and our culture?
Thorsten: In the first week, I guess all our main focus was reading, getting to know the team, and familiarizing ourselves with the work. On our first day, we all got a pretty detailed onboarding document that covers nearly all basics: The vision, the product, the sales approach, etc. This document is filled so well that we actually had to read it over several times.😄 Afterwards, we got to know the team through personal meetings. This gave us the possibility to gain insights into what everyone else was working on.
Of course, I took on first tasks and familiarized myself with my areas of responsibility. If I remember correctly, my first project started right in the first week that I was here. I was able to decide in which areas I want to take on responsibility and could do that based on my own interests and strengths.
Franca: For me, especially in the beginning, it was kind of weird to get to know everybody since most were working from home or offices in other cities. But to overcome that, we were all encouraged to introduce ourselves to everyone and talk to them. What helped me the most was our frequent socials. Even though they happen mostly remotely, it was an excellent opportunity to chat with everyone that I didn’t work with directly, such as the developers’ team. I personally was lucky enough to join in early August, just in time for our summer BBQ party - sorry you two missed that. It was a lot of fun!
BBQ Summer Party in August 2020.
Besides socials, one thing that I admire in every single team member is their drive to create something meaningful. We all expected to take ownership of specific projects and work independently, but at the same time, consult others to get together to discuss different topics.
Thorsten: We are all pretty dedicated to achieving a lot in a short time - like any start-up, I guess. Like Franca just said, there is always some time to get together, play some Skribbl, chat, or enjoy a beer at the end of the day.
To put into specific values, the first things that come into my mind are an open feedback culture, ownership over projects, and purposeful work.
Working in the Business Development Team
Let’s get more specific. What exactly did you all work on?
Tobias: That’s an excellent question to ask since we all had slightly different responsibilities and owned not necessarily the same projects. Generally, business development is all about sales and marketing related matters. Each one of us has different weights regarding these topics. Still, I’d say that I’m currently the intern with the highest focus on sales and, consequently, the less on marketing.
I own the initiative regarding cold outbound sales or handle and create several sales documents to give you some examples. Also, other tasks that are highly conceptual continuously shape my everyday work life.🧑💻
Franca: Tobi is 100% right. From the beginning, I was more involved in marketing projects, which at first I thought I wouldn’t like that much, but as it turns out, it was pretty great and creative work. To be more specific, my primary responsibility was our social media and content marketing. My favorite project was researching topics and questions for our knowledge-blog. That way, I learned a bunch about the L&D industry, crucial digitalization skills, and remote learning and working methods. Other than that, I also spend like a third of my time on sales topics, which was something entirely new and insightful for me.
Thorsten: Listening to you two, I feel like I had the most diversified responsibilities. I worked on the intersection between the business development, product, and development teams. Continuously I’ve been working on improvements for our website as well as website analytics. Additionally, I’ve also worked closely with Marcus on implementing some new roles and new knowledge-quizzes forms.🤓
Tobias: Throughout the internship, everyone of us got encouraged to find their own projects to work on. I strongly appreciate this approach since we are given the freedom to shape this topic according to our ideas and take full responsibility. By doing so, we share our successes and our failures and allow the team to learn from made mistakes. The last responsibility we all share involves the constant questioning of existing structures and processes. Especially for edyoucated as a start-up with an extremely fast-paced and innovative environment, new ideas are crucial for long-term success.
Can you walk us through a typical week? And what was working with Marius like?
Franca: I guess a typical week has always looked the same for all of us. On Mondays, we start with our weekly check-in call to review everything we achieved during the past week, assess where we stand on our monthly goals and initiatives, and plan new initiatives for the coming week. I really appreciate the fact that we each get quite a lot of ownership over different projects. Fortunately, I never felt close to being bored and always had a bunch of opportunities to take. To be honest, that was one of my greatest fear before my internship - just having nothing to do.😅
Thorsten: During the week, everyone gets to manage their time and tasks independently. But every day at 2 PM, we get together for our daily standup, where everyone in the team gives a short 2-3 sentence updates on their work.
Once a week, on Thursdays, we get together in the Business & Development team to discuss new ideas and improvements. Either for our strategic objectives or enhancements for our everyday work. We call it the “IdeaTalk”.
At 2PM each day the whole team gets together for our daily standup.
Franca: What has been pretty convenient for me personally is that we’re all free to work remotely. Since edyoucated is already located in several cities, everyone is used to collaborate and communicate digitally. Since I live in Dortmund, I was relieved to work from home a couple of times a week.
Directly working with Marius is one of the opportunities that allowed me to learn the most during my time at edyoucated. He pushes us to create sustainable and long-term value while giving us the freedom to pursue topics we are interested in and passionate about. But I guess one of our favorite things was the feedback sessions. I never received feedback that was this detailed, helped to challenge myself and continuously improve.
Regarding work-life balance: just like I was hoping (because I’m definitely not a morning person), a typical day starts somewhere between 8 and 9 AM and is also very moderate. I can’t remember doing severe over time, and even when I stayed late consuming something, it was always voluntary.
And finally, what advice would you want to give future interns/BizDev team members?
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions! That sounds too obvious, right? I’ve made the experience that everyone in the team is exceptionally open to help you with your questions. At edyoucated, everybody truly understood the value and importance of each individual for the company’s success. Cross-functional discussions are extremely valuable to boost innovation and gain new perspectives.😉
- “You are treated like a full team member” is a saying that you can find in almost every job description for internships but it’s not necessarily true. In the beginning, I even had the feeling that many colleagues were especially interested in my opinion. Probably because I was completely new to everything, and my mind was not influenced by the company’s existing structures. As an intern, you should thus truly embrace the possibility to shape the company with your ideas and beliefs because your opinion really matters.
- You’ll have numerous opportunities to try something you’ve never done before. Embrace those opportunities and give them your best. In the beginning, I personally thought I didn’t like marketing tasks. But in this field, I was able to let my strengths shine and leave a footprint on edyoucated.
- This is actually quite a good transition to my second piece of advice. Try to find a project that you’re passionate about. You’ll be able to find side-projects in every team. You’ll learn a lot by really digging into a project and a topic. It’s also really motivating to create and be responsible for something on your own.🚀
At edyoucated, you get to know new people, try out new tasks, and reflect on your work in feedback sessions. You will quickly gain know-how and experience. However, the challenge is to develop yourself based on this. For example, it isn’t easy to get rid of habits. Therefore my tip: Be aware of your improvement and regularly take the time to reflect on your progress. In this way, you will not only have seen more after your internship, but you volition also have developed yourself personally.
Thank you guys for the insights! ⚡️
We’re really sad to see you go and wish you nothing but the best for all your future! Hope to see you soon at future events.🙃
*Want to become part of our team as well? Check out our open positions!*