My Summer Internship
Perhaps I should start at the beginning, how I ended up at Bamboo.
It was just turning to Spring and talks of summer holidays and plans for lecture free days had begun. My friends started discussing internship plans in the usual accountancy and consultancy firms and how prestigious and ‘good CV material’ such internships were for business students. I wasn’t convinced. From what I had heard from my older siblings and people who have worked in these larger multinationals is that interns do far more paper pushing and admin work than advertised or desirable. This, along with further investigation into the growing tech scene in Dublin, made me realise that that startup life was far more appealing to me. I knew I wanted learning and exposure to intelligent people to be my priority for my last summer before graduating from business. Experience and recognition for working in an office didn’t quite cut it, I had dreams of being thrown into the deep end, given projects that actually impacted the company and the people who worked in it. As far as I could tell, a small start up with limited resources and a whole lot of room for growth was where I needed to be. I just needed to find the right one.
How I got here
Once I realised that I wanted to work in a small tech startup I started researching the best place to go. Should I go to the epicentre, San Fran? The emerging global tech hub, Tel Aviv? Or should I go to Dublin and support something a little closer to home… All I knew for sure was that I wanted to work for a company whose product actually made sense to me as a consumer and that I liked and used. After researching “The most successful Irish startups 2017”, Bamboo came up first. Because I don’t live in the country, I hadn’t heard of them yet nor had I had the opportunity to use the product. They described themselves as an app that allows people to skip the queue through a pre ordering platform for lunches and coffees, essentially giving people back their time in their lunch break. An app that capitalises on the greatest scarcity of our generation; time.
I sent an email to the CEO with my resume via a mutual friend and he got back to me quickly and asked me in to interview over Easter, when I would be home visiting my family. The interview went well and I was offered a three month internship beginning on the 22nd of May; the adventure had begun.
The first week was a deep dive into the analytics of Bamboo, I looked at retention, funnel analysis, where people were dropping off and the pain points of acquisition and user experience. I had the chance to focus on one element of the user journey and figure out an actionable and quantitive change I could make in order to improve this process. In a start up, resources are scarce and therefore results must be measurable and ROI on any given solution is a necessity. This further put pressure on me to suggest viable and tangible answers to problems while also giving me flexibility to experiment and see what worked and what didn't. I got to articulate which projects interested me and how to direct my internship.
For me, the opportunity to get to know the team was the most exciting element initially. I got to know them as individuals as well as how they evolved into a highly functional group of people working toward a common objective. Each person gave me knowledge, advice and guidance. I had the fortune to be surrounded by extremely talented, smart and most of all generous people who were willing to give me their time to teach me and give me key insights into a side of fast paced business which I had never encountered before.However despite all of these virtues, what struck me the most admirable trait of those who work in Bamboo is their level of dedication and investment into the company. The environment in the small office has high levels of morale and positivity, its not hard to find the source of this work ethic. Nevertheless, I found myself constantly thinking of ideas to improve the business model, solve small customer issues and make sure every order went seamlessly.
After the 6 week mark I was fully settled in and felt very much part of the team. I acquired an attitude toward my work that gave a strong direction to everything I was doing and motivation to work hard. I felt lucky to be part of something I truly cared about.
I began branching into new areas like digital marketing via social media. I short listed the most relevant, inexpensive micro bloggers and ‘insta famous’ people to create content for Bamboo on their pages. This strategy is great for start ups as it is an affordable way to reach a specific audience.
I was also asked to design the Student Ambassador Programme. This was one of the most rewarding and learning intense projects of my internship. I organised from scratch a programme to incorporate students into our marketing plan of the year. They allow Bamboo to have a brand presence on campus while boosting Word of Mouth Marketing and giving college students experience in the tech world and hands on marketing abilities.
The weeks flew and all of a sudden I found myself within sight of my last day in Bamboo. Although I felt sad to leave the team behind and anxious for the future, the more I learned about the start up world, the more I realised the risks and volatility of that world. As I leave Bamboo and head abroad I will be scanning all news points hoping for the success and expansion of Bamboo. I truly believe that the app has the added value offering to consumers to succeed and become a necessity into the daily lives of so many. The platform attracts ‘power users’ who come to Bamboo three times a day every day for their food and coffee and an app with the ability to establish that kind of presence in the lives of a large chunk of dublin society has the potential to sky rocket.
What I learned
In hindsight I couldn’t have realised how great it is to work for a startup before graduating when I initially applied. I truly believe there are few professional opportunities in which a young person with little experience can be given so much responsibility and reign to throw themselves into self driven projects. The guidance and support I received allowed me to follow through with what I believed were a capitalization of my skill set, was truly incredible. I am very grateful to have learned so much and to have had so much exposure to such hard working and knowledgeable people.
Although I am back to school in September and I will be leaving the office, I hope to stay involved with Bamboo and continue contributing what I can from digital marketing via social media to further analytics reports in order to give a different perspective on what needs to be done. Whether Bamboo explodes throughout Europe or iterates and evolves into something else entirely, I will always owe this start up a summer full of great people, learning and entrepreneurial inspiration.