A Whirlwind 8 Weeks — my Internship at Hook
Three tips to get the most out of being an intern — by Sofia Madrigal
One minute I was at home at 1am applying for an internship at a company I had only just heard about. The next minute I was standing in the middle of Liverpool Street Station overwhelmed with the hustle and bustle of the business district… with the most exciting eight weeks ahead of me.
The unknown world of tech
My name is Sofia, and I recently finished my A-Levels with the grades AAB after a hybrid of online and in-person learning. Now I’m starting at Kings College London to read Economics & Management.
Before starting my degree, I’d only ever envisioned applying for internships at large, corporate banks, and wiggling my way in to a graduate role from there from a spring week or summer internship. Having grown up in London surrounded by all of the big corporate logos, this was an application procedure that most of my peers were keen on. However, I’ve always been curious about pursuing a career in a tech startup, but my exposure to the industry and the roles available had been sparse to say the least.
Despite tech massively gaining in popularity for graduate employment, it’s an area we learn little about in careers fairs. So I decided to look for something for after my exams that would challenge me and expand my knowledge of the tech world. I wanted to learn what it means to work in this industry (which is constantly in the media or receiving government attention) and how a business works in the early days.
The tech world: my expectation
My fear with internships was that I would just be doing repetitive tasks without being given any responsibility, which I’d heard from friends doing internships at much bigger companies.
I definitely had a few preconceptions about what to expect from the tech world. I was expecting floor-plans brimming with software engineers and data scientists, and advice from managers that the only pathway to success in the world of technology was through a computer science degree…
In the end, I decided to push myself out of my comfort zone and see where it led me.
The SaaS Revolution
Starting out at a new workplace is always scary, but everyone at Hook made the process easy and very welcoming! I even met Merilin, who interned here last year and I was able to hear about her experience last summer on day 1.
From the get-go my first task was to immerse myself in the world of B2B SaaS. This involved reading a lot of Sifted articles and googling terms that I never knew existed two months ago… I also learnt all about what we do at Hook and how that impacts revenue teams.
I focused on the current market downturn and what this means for tech businesses at the moment. This piece of research introduced me to my main project: a report on the revenue revolution in SaaS. I was tasked with researching and analysing data on how the current economic downturn is affecting B2B SaaS. I examined data on layoffs in the industry as well as changes in ARR, NRR and valuations over the past 3 years.
Then I launched a survey to collect the opinions of key executives and revenue leaders in pre-Seed to Series E SaaS companies. It was interesting to reach out to senior SaaS leaders on Linkedin to ask them to share their insights (thanks to everyone who helped out!) The report is soon to be released, so keep an eye out for any updates! 👀
Discovering the workplace
Alongside my project, my day-to-day involved being a part of the Operations team. Some activities included sourcing candidates for the open roles, creating quirky Linkedin posts and following marketing courses! My recruitment sourcing led to candidate interviews and the training gave me a greater insight into how to create a strong brand for a business.
As well as my work in Ops, throughout my 8 weeks I had shadowing days with people from each department, including Customer Success, Engineering, UX/UI design, Sales and our CEO, Firaas.
Within Customer Success, I learnt about SQL databases, how we create decks for the customers at Hook and even input some data myself. In Sales, I learnt about the path from cold calling and emailing potential customers to booking initial meetings. I also learnt a lot about the logic behind the sales process and its role in growing a startup.
Career Inspiration: UI/UX design Shadowing
And while all of the shadowing days were so interesting and insightful, my favourite day had to be the product design day with Jess (Hook’s UI/UX Designer)! Coming in, I had no idea what UX/UI was, but she helped break it down into chunks and made the whole day such a great experience. We looked at current designs, tested concepts on Figma, reviewed our branding and what that means for Hook…I also participated in a customer meeting! The meeting showed me the importance of communicating with customers in order to make great designs. This process ensures the product remains useful and engaging for every user on the Hook platform.
I’ve always loved art even from a young age, from exploring museums or drawing and painting from reference pictures, but I also loved the logicality and pragmatism found in problem solving. In UX/UI you have the best of both worlds because you can be really creative, but because you work so closely with the technical team (primarily the front end), you need to also be a realistic problem solver.
Finally, I’ve even explored product design career pathways within tech…and I am definitely considering it as a potential career choice!
Three tips to make the most of an internship
My experience at Hook has been like no other, from the games night to our recent sports day event — the office is a hard-working environment but also a lot of fun!
After the 8 weeks my assumptions on what tech was like were turned upside down. Whilst there are lots of software engineers and data scientists, there are also other amazing roles such as design and Customer Success that I never knew existed.
Wearing different hats in my role here as an intern exposed me to more than I would’ve seen as an intern at a larger corporation in one department. Here, there is always something new to do everyday, the market is always changing, and therefore a flexible mindset will help you adapt.
From my time here at Hook, here are the three pieces of advice for anyone doing work experience:
- Come in with an open mind — there is always something new to learn and never assume you know what it will be like
- Questions, questions, and more questions — asking questions are key to understanding difficult concepts. The more you ask, the more you’ll enhance your understanding and can engage in more conversations with the people around you
- Your comfort zone isn’t a space for growth — it’s called a comfort zone for a reason, and the only way to learn more is by continuously venturing out of the safe zone. Whilst it is daunting, it can open up more opportunities than you never knew were available to you
I want to close by saying a big thank you to the Hook team. The collaboration within the beautiful office created a warm, welcoming environment for me. From team lunches to bringing out our competitive sides in Settlers of Catan, there’s always an opportunity to connect with others.
My time at Hook showed me that culture is really what makes the small company experience worthwhile. It may not be the 9–5 corporate day that most university internships offer, but the fast-paced, social and engaging 9–5 that helps you flourish and grow as a person.
Now I’m starting my undergraduate degree at King’s College London to study Economics & Management. As I’m starting university, I’m currently building my Linkedin network, and would love to connect with anyone with similar interests or to talk about internships or future opportunities!
Thanks to the Talent Foundry for their help organising this internship.