On the whole, I had a very good internship experience. During my feedback meeting with the CFO of the company, I expressed that the only improvement I would have liked to see was for my internship to do more with the finance and accounting section of a company. Nevertheless, the projects I was offered and kept up with were still extremely interesting and rewarding. I would tell future interns to always remain on their toes in order to accept new material as quickly and swiftly as possible.
Zanox is a fast-paced environment and as a company that is in the late stages of going from start-up to corporate, it is essential to keep in mind that the environment is not always as stable as that of the environment you’d find at fortune 500 companies. Despite this the company still has its merits. Start-up culture in itself is highly desirable because of how vigorous it can be; employees have to immerse themselves wholly into a project that may or may not launch. The uncertainty is thrilling to some and the self-recognition that’s gained if a project launches and is successful is exhilarating. I'd remind future interns to always keep an open mind. At such a young age as I am at right now, I think it’s important to be ambitious and strive for the best, but to also take each opportunity as it is and remain positive. Almost any situation has the potential to go from something seemingly helpless to something productive and worthy. I’d also advise future interns to maintain responsibility.
Work ethic is not defined by passion, but instead by consistency. It’s been shown that people who don’t like their work tend to slack off more. It’s difficult to act any differently, especially when the material doesn’t interest the individual, but someone with a great work ethic will do the job fully despite their lack of passion. In a career, just as in life, there will be plenty of things that won’t be perfect. Being and staying positive is key to making the most out of any situation. The best thing about my internship was the nature of the work and the great, versatile, and diverse employees that I got to know. As an intern, there was a more relaxed nature to the work and work environment. I was able to use this to my advantage; I could communicate with colleagues effectively without having to worry about normal business jargon. Having an internship in another country also gave me a new perspective on how much communication matters. Since a lot of employees were from different countries, it was great to see English as the base language. Nevertheless, it still took extra effort to fully understand people. Although it was not so formal, it was still a learning curve to try to work along-side people from different cultures and countries.
The biggest challenge for me - but also one of the best things - was that the nature of the work was extremely open-ended. I had to come up with a questionnaire/meeting/database concept, and create it on excel, without any real relevant data since the data had yet to be acquired. It sounds impossible, but I managed. The company is at a point where employees are hesitant to accept change because there are a lot of things at stake when things are changed. Too much change could mean a tectonic shift in the work environment and it was important to be delicate in the data acquisition process. I was forced to work with minimal data and work on a project revolving around how to acquire the data, and once acquired, what to do with it. It was very open-ended work and trying to make something so intangible into something concrete was a mind-boggling task at times. It proved to be really interesting and useful; a truly great growing experience.
Settling back into the US was honestly very easy. I have been craving chipotle for a couple of months now, along with my mother’s home cooking, and nothing can beat comfort food. Being able to read the signs, have free water at every meal, and speak English freely is something that I took for granted before this summer. Since I was forced to be a lot more social this summer due to the language barrier, I find that with English being the main language in the US I’ve been that much more social! As sad as I am to have left Berlin, I am as happy to continue my journey at Pitt through the next couple of years.