I was looking to leave an impact, not to upgrade my CV. Thankfully, AIESEC let me do both.
“My experience taught me more than any book could ever teach me, some things have to be seen in person.”
As a second year business student, I knew it was time for me to start filling my summers with something more meaningful than just vacation, but I refused to just work at any big corporation and be one of many. I am a member of AIESEC myself, and when my colleagues started to promote start-ups in Brazil, I was sold.
I started working in a start-up named Kobe – Creative Software House in Porto Alegre who work mainly with AR&VR technology. The reason I preferred to do my first internship in a start-up over instead of a bigger company is because the power-distance is a lot smaller. Also, since the company isn’t fully up and running yet, there’s a lot more to fix and help with than, and it is very different than working in a smoothly running corporation. At Kobe, they have continuously challenged me and given me big responsibilities, allowing me to speak to consultants and advisors to figure out an internationalization strategy for them. Additionally, I have been allowed to participate in a sales negotiation and learned a lot from seeing the Brazilian side of business. My research is supposed to help Kobe decide to which location they can expand, though a strategy that keeps the common goal of the managing partners in focus.
My start-up was amazing, and I made a lot of friends at work. They were also some of the most dedicated people I’ve ever seen, really trying to make this dream of theirs come true. Everyone is equal and gets heard (which is not necessarily true for women in this country). They give me constructive feedback when I ask ‘’why’’ and they really cared for my experience in the company. To see how Kobe’s employees manage to maintain focus on their main goal in their diverse team was very impressive and admirable. And I am very grateful that they have given me as much trust freedom as their usual employees allowing me to develop myself.
Eu te amo Brazil! Can’t wait for my return.
This post was written by Sofie Van de Ven. Sofie went on an internship at a start-up with AIESEC in the Netherlands. We offer international volunteering projects and professional internships with the aim of developing leadership in youth.