The best internship I could ever ask for
“Forrest Gump said, ‘Life is like a box of chocolates.’ Your career is like a box of chocolates — you never know what you’re going to get. But everything you get is going to teach you something along the way and make you the person you are today. That’s the exciting part, it’s an adventure in itself”
It was our fifth semester. Everyone was in a hurry to find a good internship, which we have to complete as our sixth semester. But my battlefield was bit different where I was in a dilemma about my career. People who know me know, I wasn’t in to tech much and I have entered to this path somewhat eventually. I was reading for my bachelor’s degree in Information Technology and Management but, I was not much interested on becoming a software developer, since I was not keen on coding. Apart from the B.Sc, I was following some marketing courses. Although I find it interesting, I was not sure about whether I really want to become a pure marketer as well. That was the time that I doubt about my self and questioning myself about not being enough. However, I left with some energy to build my confidence beyond my fears. After a good amount of background research and considering my skills, I thought of doing my internship as a business analyst where I thought I would be able to use both of my study backgrounds in a productive way.
Someday in July, 2017. I got my first call for an interview and it was from EasyBooking aka Cleato Pvt Ltd and the voice from the other side was so inviting. I went to the interview, and It was a bit long interview than I expected. It was two interviews together with the Business Analyst there and with the COO respectively. At the end of the interview, COO has asked me if we hired you, we will be pushing you into the deep sea where you have to come up with your own surviving strategy, would you like to take up that challenge? Further, he said since I’m having two interests, they would happy to let me work in both areas and find what I’m really passionate about. That offering was something beyond my expectation which I could have ever asked for. The interview itself I felt, this will be a place where I can learn and I find that environment is very supportive. While everyone was chasing big companies, I accepted that offer from a young start-up where my gut feelings were saying, there is a great learning opportunity lying ahead for me. I wasn’t wrong and that was one of the best decision I have ever made.
So in 2017, September 4th, I started my internship at EasyBooking.lk as a Business Analyst Intern. That was my first working experience, so I was so excited to start my new chapter. The team consists of nearly twenty people working as two functional teams and administrative work. Within the first few weeks, I was able to get on with everyone and adapted to the working culture. Everyone in the office were really supportive and friendly. Without any hesitation, I can ask any help from anyone there and they all were keen on helping each other. The first month itself filled with a lot of lessons. I got to learn about the basic approaches as a BA and I’ve been asked to create a strategic marketing plan for the remaining quarter with a situational analysis. It was a great opportunity to me, apply what I’ve learned into a real-life situation. I went for my first client meeting and product demonstration with my mentor, along with a sales executive. However, after two months of the time, my mentor got an offer and marked the end of his tenure with us. Then the real challenge has begun. Until we could hire a senior BA, I had to take care of the responsibilities that should be carried out by the BA. Although my mentor has given me a good transition, the time was not enough to teach everything. I started learning all the things by myself and COO, CTO and Tech Lead have given an immense support and generously shared their knowledge and experiences with me. Even though I was an amateur, they believed in me and never had a doubt about what I was doing and always keep involving me in the decision making. Later I’ve handled product presentations and demonstrations by myself without any assistance which helped me to build greater confidence in me.
You all see the pretty pieces of the IT applications on your hand, but to get there and satisfy the clients’ expectations is not so smooth like the apps you use. To design one module, you might say it’s simple and small feature, but behind that there might be many background studies and hundreds of wasted mock-ups (and huge development effort too). There were times I have revised and re-revised the same design for more than four-five times. But in the end, I enjoyed every bit of it and the revised mock-ups are actually not wasted. Those were my learning possibilities where I developed from each one of them like an image developing from the negatives of a camera. As I said before, developing the perfect solution is not an easy task. All these applications you are using came to your hand after a huge thought process of different people. I learned about what kind of perception you should have, in order to tackle those pain points of a client. As long as they don’t have a solution at all, they are perfectly fine with it. But, in the minute you bring the soup on their table, they will be needing so many add ons with it and its perfectly fine and that’s the human nature. Dealing with clients is an art and I think I’ve got a great foundation to learn about it by working at EasyBooking. Especially handling the needs of clients in the local context is really challenging and I learned it in the best possible way I could.
I was not only learning and working there. I enjoyed being the part of that family. I was more than happy to work together with them on special occasions. I was a member of the organizing committee of the year-end party and it was such a privilege to host the event as well. We have had a special new year celebration and started the new year in style and I enjoyed arranging those events and never felt like I’m working on something extra. Those moments made me feel belonged.
When I was marking the end of my twenty-four week internship, I have handled 15+ business cases/change requests within their operating solution, including four major modules. I have worked on one external client project and some other change requests from previous projects. I worked with 10+ customer accounts, including corporate customers. Working with cross-functional teams gave me the ability to see the problems in different angles and understanding about the diversity among the team members. Most importantly, I learned, what it takes to handle a startup. Being there, I was able to get an eagle view of an organization and how the things are handled. The struggle is real to climb the one step of the business life cycle and I learned how much challenging the corporate environment is.
The success of an organization does not just depend on the vision and the effort from the CEO or the top management. To achieve organizational goals we have to have a team who work together as one, for a common goal. Then only everyone will be able to celebrate the success together. Business is always a journey and we have to go in hand in hand with everyone in the organization.
Within these twenty-four weeks journey, as per the promise they have made on the interview day, I found myself again and what I’m capable of. I was able to build a passion for something I have never dreamed, and in a field of I never want to be. Becoming nothing to something, the journey was super challenging and full of life lessons. Every day I had something new to learn and something new to do. It was a memorable and happy chapter with full of wisdom. The farewell day at the EasyBooking was one of the most rewarding days of my life. I was again fortunate enough to earn some precious people in my life who gave me heartfelt blessings and believing me on the person I could become. The place may be small but not the people. I gave beyond my best and earned beyond the best. The love, blessings and well wishes are something that I can cherish for lifetime. Foremost, thank you for assisting me to find my purpose and showing me a path to follow.
Dear Easybooking family, thank you for the opportunity and the trust you’ve had on me. Thank you for all the lessons and tremendous support given to me during my stay. Each and everyone were there, meant a lot to me. I wish nothing but the best for you all and looking forward to see you on greater heights in the future.
There’s nothing impossible when you do it with all your heart and soul. Don’t mind starting small but, do mind not ending big and don’t do anything by expecting something in return, give your best and you’ll be rewarded beyond the best. And, always, always believe in your self. This is what I learned ultimately.