If you had asked me about working in FinTech three weeks ago I wouldn’t have even known how to answer. I started my internship at Bean with very little knowledge about finance technology or startups but during my short time with them I learned so much about the industry and have been given this opportunity to share some of that with you.
As a Media and Communications student at the University of Leeds I wouldn’t say finances are my main focus right now and, even with my handful of high school economics classes, can’t I claim to know much about the industry. On top of that I know next to nothing about technology and even less about working at a startup. Needless to say I felt very unprepared but was looking forward to picking up some new skills.
The startup culture is very different to the other work environments I have experienced. All around there is constant learning and gathering of opinions. If you need an outside opinion members of other companies are more than willing to advise and connect you with relevant contacts; whatever help they can offer, they will. In general, when compared to the corporate world, ‘startup land’ is more laid back. You come to work in jeans and sneakers, you share snacks and it’s always time for coffee. People work longer hours and lunch hours are a myth but the relaxed environment takes a little pressure off and makes it easier to take a step back and reevaluate when things are going wrong.
The first thing that became clear at Bean is that everyone plays a role in everything that happens. With such a small team every voice is encouraged to speak up. From little things, like designing a logo, to developing the core brand values your opinion is heard and considered. This isn’t the first internship I’ve had but it was the first where, even as a temporary member of the team, I felt like my suggestions were being taken seriously.
Having a small part in all the aspects of the company makes being a jack of all trades kind of a necessity. My tasks ranged from populating the blog and creating Instagram and Twitter content, to photoshopping merchant logos and creating databases. The diversity of responsibilities prevents you from ever getting bored and keeps you busy. Personally, using products like Photoshop, that I haven’t had a need to use recently, and new tools like Buffer and Trello, helped develop useful skills that can now go on my CV.
Bean exists in the world of FinTech, or Financial Technology. Honestly, before starting my internship I’d never heard anything about the industry, but being exposed to it these last few weeks has been eye opening. The idea of managing my own personal finances is pretty daunting, but companies like Bean are out there and have extremely useful products. Working at Bean I’ve read countless articles about FinTech and how it is expanding. This knowledge has totally changed my mind, instead of finding the industry intimidating and out of reach, it’s something that I am genuinely interested in for future work.
Overall the last three weeks have been a wonderful experience that I am truly thankful to have had. This internship has taught me so much about working in FinTech, the wider industry and myself that I never would have expected when I started. I’m very thankful for my time at Bean, and would come back in a heartbeat!