Making a difference as Hook’s first Summer Intern
Everyone has their firsts and being Hook’s first intern was the very best introduction to the world of work — and what an eye-opening two months it’s been!
10 weeks. 10 people. 1 office move. And many polaroid photos later…
Leaving school through the pandemic
I’m Merilin, a recent school leaver who finished A-levels this year with final grades of AAAB after a difficult couple of years in ‘virtual school’. Whilst at school, I completed some work experience, but several placements were cancelled due to the pandemic. I was a little disheartened because preparing for work placements and getting accepted onto one was a lot more difficult than anticipated, and I was yet to experience a real world workplace.
One day in my school inbox I saw an opportunity to join Hook. They were looking for a recent school leaver to join them on a paid internship. I’d never had a job prior to Hook, so I wasn’t sure how I would feel working in an office environment, but I was curious and applied!
Usually, internships occur during or after you graduate university, so I definitely had worries like ‘what if I don’t know what to do?’, and ‘I’m the youngest one there, will I fit in?’
I made a checklist (pictured) of what I wanted to get out of working at Hook and realised that the experience would give me such an advantage going into university that it was 100% worth the risk — after all, the whole point of an internship would be for me to develop skills and learn from the best!
Starting at Hook
When I thought about what an internship involved, I thought of ‘assistant’ and so my mind immediately went to ‘The Devil Wears Prada’! I thought I’d be running errands, writing emails all day and getting food and coffee for my boss. Thankfully my experience was nothing like this. Instead, at Hook, I learned to expect the unexpected. The more I wanted to be involved, the more there was to do.
My day went from meticulously inputting data into excel to writing LinkedIn messages to managing the most important office appliances: the snack cabinet and mini fridge!
The more I wanted to be involved, the more there was to do.
My day-to-day work
Initially, I got stuck into marketing strategies, a course on customer success fundamentals, competitor pricing models etc, which all helped me to better understand the world of Customer Success (CS).
My focus then pivoted to designing Hook’s first survey on ‘The Metrics for Customer Success’, which ended up being the main focus of my internship. My aim was to gather insights on the metrics that CS professionals use and value today and find out how well they worked. We ended up with over 100 respondents and I worked on creating an insights report based on the answers.
I also worked on other operational tasks such as sourcing and recruiting candidates for open roles at Hook as well as LinkedIn courses which helped me learn the marketing fundamentals of B2B SaaS.
I really enjoyed the marketing aspect of my internship (as a prospective marketing student I would expect so), which included creating LinkedIn content. It allowed me to really think about the tone of voice that I wanted to project to our audience, and to be creative.
For example, the survey data that I analysed will be used as an industry standard and repurposed for marketing across the Hook brand.
My recruitment efforts led to multiple candidate interviews and my LinkedIn efforts gained us new followers and potential customers.
Although I primarily worked in operations, I had the opportunity to shadow all departments of Hook, including product design, product management, software engineering and I even got to shadow our CEO, Firaas, at an in-person sales meeting, an investor meeting, and a few customer conversations first-hand.
With engineering, I had the preconception that it was extremely difficult to understand and that engineers were pure hackers. Yes, they can hack but I was able to understand what parts of the backend code meant and learn some Python (albeit very basic).
I listened in on product meetings every Friday and provided my own suggestions to problems that we needed to find solutions for. I found this rewarding as I was solving a real problem that affected users.
I was able to learn so much from each department because each person at Hook willingly took their time to help a complete newbie acquire first-hand experience within each area of the business.
As an intern, I wasn’t expecting to have as big of an impact as I did. At Hook, I made a difference.
What I learnt at Hook
My internship goals were all ticked off by the end of the 10 weeks. I wanted to learn as much as I could from both Firaas (CEO) and Amelia (Head of Business Operations) — and let me tell you — I learnt a LOT!
This ranged from how to present myself in an interview to the behind the scenes of starting a side hustle. I had 121 meetings every week and I prepared multiple questions to ask — it’s as if I was the one interviewing them! I found that the more questions I asked, the more I got out of the whole experience.
The knowledge I’ve gained in this internship has been invaluable and it is not something I would have gained if I didn’t actively engage with the whole team every week.
The Hook culture
The office is more than just an office with an amazing view, it’s a space where every member of the team can work and talk collaboratively every day. We had team lunches every Friday and the occasional Friday where we finished early and went out for drinks and spoke about all sorts.
For every new member on the team, we celebrated; for our latest newcomer Josh (our Customer Onboarding Manager) we had drinks and played competitive games of darts (this is where I saw the truly competitive side of my colleagues). The culture was unlike anything I imagined!
My experience at Hook has been productive but also incredibly social! Everyone should intern at a start-up company because if I hadn’t been exposed to a start-up culture like this, I probably would have been chasing exclusively ‘corporate’ jobs just like every other student coming out of university - and none of these would have compared to my time at Hook.
I’m now off to Queen Mary’s University London to study Marketing & Management. I am always keen to expand my network and meet new mentors so please feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn if you’d like to chat about the internship or any future opportunities.
Thank you to every person at Hook that made my experience what it was!
Author: Merilin Mirosavljevic