My name is Simon, I am 23 years old and I was born and raised in good old Germany. After graduating from the University of Münster as a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, I spent 3 months as one of two international interns in the business development department of Around25.
Going to Cluj-Napoca in order to do the internship with AIESEC at Around25 was my first time visiting Eastern Europe. In spite of (or maybe because of) the rather negative conceptions about Romania in Germany, I was curious what to expect about my experience. Will they have proper houses? Internet or even electricity?
Of course these are just some jokes, but coming from a privileged, wealthy and very German city, I had no clue what to expect.
However, all these concerns and fears vanished immediately when I arrived! Not only was I welcomed very warmly by AIESECers at the airport, but I also got a lovely welcoming email from Emilia, the Chief Happiness Officer at Around25. After one weekend of getting used to the new living situation, I started my internship. I was welcomed by Cosmin, the CTO, who took his time to introduce me to all the colleagues around.
Even though I was barely able to remember 10% of their names at first, I felt that the people at Around25 were very friendly, open-minded and curious about me. So it didn’t take long to bond with them and start conversations.
In general, I got the feeling that Around25 is not just a team of colleagues, but a team of friends. This positive vibe resulting from the startup spirit, Paul and Cosmin’s friendship as the cornerstone of Around25, and regular events such as quiz nights and barbecues (combined with some very tight ping-pong matches) made the time fly while working.
Nevertheless, I didn’t spend all my time playing ping-pong! Together with Frank, the American intern, I was in charge with Business Development (BD). Our task was to come up with different approaches on how to establish the first contact with potential clients. This, of course, included detailed research on various markets in order to figure out which nations, industries, and finally startups may be worth targeting.
After exploring and evaluating the opportunities, it was our responsibility to reach out and convert them to potential leads. I really appreciated that Around25, in contrast to many other companies, gave us (as interns) the freedom to test our approaches independently, according to the Lean Startup (an amazing book Silvia recommended to me).
Furthermore, I was super excited when I received the first positive feedbacks from the startups that I reached out to. Paul and Cosmin even encouraged me to take over the first get-to-know calls with them. It felt extremely rewarding to receive such responsibilities and being part of the entire sales process. Still, I was able to ask them or Silvia for advice at any time or at our weekly BD feedback meetings.
One of my highlights at the internship was the DevTalks conference in Cluj. The entire day I was able to listen to keynotes about emerging technologies and the resulting challenges in business management.
Due to this conference and the internship, I was able to broaden my knowledge regarding the software development on the one hand, but more importantly, about managing startups on the other hand. I managed to learn more about what it means to manage your own startup at the regular meetups on entrepreneurship that Around25 hosted, their own startups (Cleverwash, Kidgarten and Engage) and due to their vast experience from cooperating with early-stage and established startups from all over the world.
Besides our internship, Frank and I took the opportunity to visit different places in Romania, to discover Cluj and travel to Budapest, Hungary. We were able to visit very interesting historical sites such as the gorgeous castles in Brasov and the Palace of the Parliament in Bucharest.
Additionally, nearly every weekend there were festivals in Cluj like the Transylvanian International Film Festival, Electric Castle and Lights Festival. We were lucky to have our lovely colleagues, the people from AIESEC and the other interns (aka the aquarium) to hang out in the city!
Cluj in general is a beautiful, vibrant city, with a lot of young people, students, internationals, and a vivid startup community. I cannot wait to visit Cluj and to see my friends from Around25 again! If you haven’t gotten the feeling yet, I strongly recommend you apply for this amazing opportunity.
You should definitely read Frank's article about our time with Around25, too!