What is it like to be an intern at Co-libry?

1 July 2020 | 5 min read

For the last couple of months, we’ve had the chance to welcome some new members to our team for their internship. Ranging from marketing and communications enthusiasts Like Jasmine and Atef, to two young data wizards like John and Adriaan. We decided to ask them some questions about how they were experiencing their internship so far. Here is what they had to say:

Jasmine, 22

With the course Communication management, you can go in a lot of different directions when choosing an internship.

In my opinion, you should dare to step out of your comfort zone once in a while, this way you learn a lot more and discover what you really like to do and where you’re good at to find a permanent job in a later phase. I did this when choosing to do an internship at Co-libry. After a first conversation and getting to know each other, I already felt at ease.

Although my internship was entirely done by teleworking, I still had the feeling that I got to know the Co-libry employees. Every morning we had a team meeting in which everyone told us what tasks they had done the day before and what is on the planning today. But we also talked about non-work-related matters to keep the personal contact strong. In times of Corona, this is definitely welcome!

During my first week, I got mostly tasks that made me understand the ins and outs of the company better. If I had any additional questions or if there were any ambiguities, the employees were always open to clarify these matters. I quickly noticed that they really appreciated the input of the trainees.

Throughout the internship, they looked at what you are good at as a person and what kind of tasks you would like to complete during your internship. At Co-libry you are not just another intern. You are appreciated for the person you are.

Even though it was an internship outside of my comfort zone, I’m very happy that I was able and allowed to do an internship here and that I was able to enrich my knowledge of digital marketing and the real estate sector, thanks to Co-libry.

Atef, 21

Picking an internship can be quiet difficult sometimes, as you want to pick the right company that will help you grow and where you will learn the most.

I stumbled upon the job offer online and it seemed like an interesting place for an internship as they were offering many books and webinars. It felt like a place where I could be learning a lot in 5 weeks.

After an interview with Nathan, which felt more like a friendly chat than a job interview, we decided that Co-libry was a great place for me to sharpen my marketing skills.

Due to COVID-19 and social distancing I had to do my internship from home. However, I never had the feeling that had any effect on my internship. I always felt like part of the team and there was always someone to guide me.

Every morning we had a team huddle, where everyone had the chance to talk about their day and what we were planning on doing that day. This helped to make everyone feel closer to one another and also helped to maximize our productivity as we had the opportunity to have a structural overview of our tasks for the day.

I didn’t know much about portals, real estate, or artificial intelligence at first. So in the first week, I was doing tons of research.

Everyone in the team was always ready to answer my questions at any moment. After 4 weeks now, I feel like I know more about the subject than I would have imagined during my first week.

John, 23

As a master student Business Engineering majoring in data analytics I decided to seek a much needed practical experience.

When searching for the right internship for me I had two criteria that needed to be met. I wanted to work at a company where I would learn more about real-world data analytics and I wanted to work for a company where I, as an intern could have a real impact.

After my interview with Sam, I felt that Co-libry was a great opportunity for me.Due to social distancing measures, my desk was set up on my parents’ kitchen table. I’ll be honest, at first it felt quite weird. The more interactions I had with my coworkers however, the more natural it started to feel.

My mentor Sam and my co-intern Adriaan played instrumental parts in making me feel comfortable at the company through having more personal interactions as well as work-centered ones.

I was lucky to work at a company that initially invested a lot of time in helping me develop my skills before letting me work more independently during the second half of the internship. This gave me the feeling that I was a valued member of the organization and that I was delivering impactful work. On the backend of my internship, I feel that I’m capable of working independently and deliver results. Workwise I focussed on everything about labeling and NLP.

In the first week of my internship, I was thrown in the for me yet uncharted territory of Google cloud. I was tasked with setting up a virtual machine on which I set up labeling tools for images and text with a makeshift authentication layer. The next task I was given was to set up a French NLP for automatic feature labeling and to optimize the performance of the existing NLP.

I feel that this internship has taught me how to work more efficiently with data. And it has shown me what I am already capable of and what I still need to improve on. All in all, a great experience!

Adriaan, 21

Choosing a good first internship isn’t easy, less during a pandemic. At first, I thought I would wait out this summer and look for an internship next summer, after finishing my master’s degree in Business Engineering: Data Analytics. However, I was still looking out for companies that might have been worth it to tediously navigate the conditions of the pandemic.

This is when I stumbled upon Co-libry. With Co-libry, I was attracted because of the dynamic of the company, and the responsibility and assignments I would get. It is still a start-up company with a young and dynamic team. Next to that, I would have the opportunity to practice my data analytics skills with a project that shows the entire process of helping a real-estate portal use their customer data, from exploratory data analysis to making predictions of future conversions.

I learned a lot of valuable new skills. I started with a dataset from a real-estate portal, regarding their customer behavior. At first, it was hard to see the wood for the trees. But with consistency and help from my mentor Sam, I got more and more comfortable and knowledgeable about the assignment. I started preprocessing, determining customers’ search behavior, and their features. Based on this, my job was to cluster customers and make predictions surrounding their possible conversion.

Working for Co-libry in itself was a more atypical experience. This was of course again due to the restrictions because of the COVID pandemic. I could only work on my computer at home, and never met the people I was working with. However, I could easily strike a conversation with my mentor Sam and my co-intern John. They were also always set to help me out whenever I had a problem or needed extra insight regarding my project.

I had the feeling that I was working there to learn, and in the end, I felt like I really did. I feel like now I am a big step further towards a professional career in which I don’t have to bombard my superiors with questions every 5 minutes.

Nathan, 22

As a master student Business Engineering: Data analytics, I’ve had plenty of projects in courses over the years. However, I wanted to gain practical experience in the real world, so I decided to look for an internship.
That’s how I stumbled upon Co-libry. After an interview with Sam, I was immediately convinced that this would be a place where I could expand on my current skill set. Besides, it was immediately clear that my tasks wouldn’t be trivial or busy work but instead have a real impact. I was confident this would be a place where I could learn a ton.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I had to work from my bedroom. At first, this felt a little strange, but thanks to daily team huddles, my mentor Sam and co-interns, I quickly felt like a real part of the team. Not being in the same building also didn’t have any effect on the quality of my internship, as there was always someone I could turn to with questions or remarks.
I had numerous, diverse tasks, ranging from EDA and NLP to a Computer Vision model. At first, each task seemed quite difficult, but with the right guidance, I was able to produce results. Over time, I was allowed to work more independently, and the team often asked me for input. This gave me the feeling that my work here was valued.
Nearing the end of my internship now, I feel like I’ve learned more about working with data than I could’ve imagined at the start. I’ve been introduced to new topics, and have a deeper knowledge of others. Besides, I’ve learned how to work more independently and had some fun with the challenges that I faced. It was a great experience overall!

To summarize: Not only did we learn much from Co-libry, but it felt like everyone at Co-libry was always trying to learn and move forward. It didn’t just feel like work, but like everyone is doing his part in creating and helping Co-libry to evolve.

 

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