At the beginning of June 2021, having just finished my 3rd Year of International Business with Analytics and Technology atthe University of Strathclyde, I started a 12-week internship at Gibson Robotics as Operations and Finance Manager.
Entering an engineering environment as a business student with no technical knowledge can be daunting. I knew it was going to bea steep learning curve, especially as I had never worked or even consideredworking in a start-up. But at Gibson Robotics you can’t help but feel like youare part of something big. As we are just starting, there is a real sense of excitement throughout the organisation. Whether it’s the latest break through with our technology or another opportunity that has come to light, you can tellthe entire team is genuinely passionate and excited about their work, somethingI cannot confidently say I have seen in other organisations.
Having had previous experience within larger engineering-based organisations, I had no idea how Gibson Robotics would compare. From the outset I could tell they would be vastly different experiences, each with their own merits and shortcomings. My previous internships have been more formal, structured and organised with processes and procedures already in place. In comparison, one of my first tasks within Gibson Robotics was developing an ‘on boarding’ template for inducting new employees meaning when I joined there were no such procedures in place. Yet this gave me the opportunityto help direct the course of my own internship whilst building the foundations for other interns that follow me.
Whilst my official title was Operations and Finance Manager, internally, we informally called my role ‘Everything Business’. Any aspect of business you can name, I bet I have had some experience of it this summer. I wasn’t involved in just one particular project becasue at this stage of development, the entire company is the project. It is fair to say thatI was thrown in the deep end with very real responsibility from the outset. I was aware that mistakes in a start-up can have a more material impact than in larger organisations but I am thankful that Gibson Robotics has a culture that views mistakes as a learning opportunity rather than a failure.
Company culture is incredibly important at Gibson Robotics, team members can work the hours that suit us best, wherever suits us best. Time off is not questioned, and the quality of our output is valued over the time we have spent on it. Taking advantage of the flexible culture at the beginning of my Internship, I worked remotely more often. Yet over time, I found myself starting to get up early and heading into the office, not because I had to but because I wanted to. This is truly testament to just how much I’ve enjoyed my time at Gibson Robotics; I am not a morning person. Being present in the office also helped develop my understanding of various other projects within the organisation, giving me vital context within my role and clarification on how our individual skill sets came together to form a whole.
My main piece of advice for anyone considering arole at any tech start up is that you shouldn’t be ashamed or embarrassed about asking questions. It is easy to feel like everyone knows more than you, but I can promise anyone involved in a tech start-up is on their own learningjourney, we are on the cusp ofinnovation after all.
As I go back to university for my 4th Year, I plan to stay on at Gibson Robotics part time. Not only because it is preferable to my previous term time jobs but because I am genuinely invested in Gibson Robotics success, and I am excited to be involved in its future as both the organisation and I grow.
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