An unexpected stint at a Startup in my final uni semester

Many spent their final semester enjoying their last few months in school and most were surprised when they heard that I was spending time at a startup instead of relaxing.

“You will regret not having a break before you start your full-time job”

“Why are you not enjoying your final uni semester?”

These are common responses I got from my peers in school when they heard what I was doing. But I have to say this was one of the best decisions I have made in my life, to embark on this journey with Lightdotlab.

Almost half a year ago, I got to know about Lightdotlab from a friend who did a short stint with them during the December holiday. At first, I had totally no clue about what It was, but I knew I wanted to do something meaningful in my final semester, something different from what I have been doing for the past 3–4 years in school. So, I did some research and found out that Lightdotlab was a small company conducting trainings to help data crunchers deal with their work more efficiently. According to my friend, they were looking for someone to help with digital marketing. Without much hesitation, I got my friend to recommend me for the role because I wanted to try out digital marketing. And that was how it all started. There were email exchanges and a skype interview. I was expecting a boring usual interview that employers do with candidates asking stuff like “Why do you want to join us? Tell me a situation where…” To my surprise, the interview was very casual and really allowed me to connect with the team. The questions asked were slightly personal, targeting my values, my needs and whether they are aligned with the team. What’s more, Grace, the founder of Lightdotlab, even explained why she asked those questions afterwards.

One week after the interview, and there I was, finding myself at One-North on a Wednesday morning, reporting for my first day of work. At my very first day, I was already certain that I was in the right place. Grace spent the morning with me over coffee, finding out more about my motivation, my needs and setting ground rules before onboarding me. This was something I have never encountered in any of my past internship. It instantly made you felt important that I was not just there to work for the company, but to work with the team and make an impact.

Working with a remote team

My impression of working with a remote team wasn’t very good to begin with, because of how group project meetings usually turn out when discussions are done over Skype or Google Hangout. But, working with Lightdotlab over these few months totally changed my perception. As Lightdotlab is a small team with no fixed office space, we had to rely on our ‘daily’ and weekly calls to keep everyone on track and up to date of each other’s progress. I enjoyed the small talks that the team always had at the start of our ‘daily’ call. You might think that working remote would be unproductive, but I was amazed by how much each of us can achieve on their own at our own pace and how productive group meetings were.

During my stint at Lightdotlab, I took on the role of a digital marketing campaign manager and was tasked to oversee the entire digital marketing campaign. At the same time, I was building a digital channel that can provide future potential leads for Lightdotlab. The journey wasn’t easy as I did not have a lot of experience with digital marketing tools. But, the team definitely made it easier for me as they did not impose additional pressure on me. Instead, we had a lot of discussions and learnings together, each chipping in what we are best in, to make it possible for the entire campaign to be launched.

Grace, a people’s wizard and mentor

One of my best takeaway from this stint was to meet Grace, the founder of Lightdotlab. At the beginning, Grace seems like just another brave soul who was tired of the corporate world and was trying to build her own business. However, as time passes, and I got to interact with her more, I began to realize that she is someone who is able to connect with people on a deeper level and a great mentor who can bring out people’s potential. At work, she always looked for the ‘why’, focused on the reasons we do things and hit the core instead of looking at just surface problems and dwelling over how we do things. This allowed the team to quickly move forward and overcome barriers when we are stuck at crossroads. On a personal level, Grace has also helped me looked at things from very different perspectives and every conservation with her made me felt like I have gained more wisdom.

Time to say goodbye…

Now that my stint with Lightdotlab is over, I felt like I took a round trip to a different world where I was given a chance to experience something I never expected myself to have been through. This experience has allowed me to grow in many different aspects in such a short period. I am sure it will help propel me forward in the next phase of my life.