My internship experience in a tech startup in Barcelona

Sophia Ellis
May 03, 2017

Playa, sol y tapas! I made the experience to work in a city, where others spend their holidays! My name is Tobias and I worked at Hibox at their HQ in Barcelona. Hibox is a startup that created a digital solution for business communication. This internship was part of my Master’s studies in International Management at the HTW Saar.

The main objectives of this 3-month internship were to work in a different cultural environment in a different language, to discover another way of working and use theoretical knowledge in a professional environment. After gaining first working experience in a big concern I decided to have my internship abroad in a startup environment. Having opportunities to go to Amsterdam and London I decided else and chose Barcelona as my internship destination. With a little coincidence, I found the website of Hibox and got the contact information of Spencer (the COO) via Hibox’s customer service, to whom I sent my application. A short and uncomplicated Skype interview later I had my internship position. I hoped to experience a dynamic and promising environment to apply my abilities and to learn new things. In fact, Hibox gave me a lot of real responsibility from day one.

Working at Hibox:

My hopes were heard and I had an amazing and very enriching experience. At Hibox, I was employed as a Sales / Business Development and Marketing Intern and I started to develop the German market from scratch and attracted new clients for Hibox. Being German I brought in an additional nationality to the international team. Hibox is an international company. In the office in Barcelona, only one of us was from Spain, the whole team came from different countries all over the globe (Argentina, France, Italy, Singapore, USA, Germany, and more).

Inside the Hibox team, roles are flexible and everyone helps to further develop Hibox’s success, by applying all their abilities. We as interns mostly concentrated on business development, sales and marketing tasks. But, there are some tasks (like translations) that we all do because we need the language skills of everybody. Design capabilities were also welcomed, so we could contribute to Hibox’s development in every angle.

As we were mostly free in our idea implementations and activities I could create my personal highlights with winning an article publishing for Hibox, that will be published by t3n. And through our sales activities, I also got into contact with a leading reseller for intranet solutions in Germany with whom I experienced and managed the whole sales process from first contact, over demonstrations of our product and pricing negotiations to the elaboration of a contract. Responsibility and experiences every intern would love to gain.

The atmosphere at work was always friendly and really felt like making a lot of new friends not only colleagues. Every employee is very connected to each other since we are all using the platform we sell, which also helps to understand what is good and how it can be improved. Despite the kilometres between the team in Barcelona and the team in South America, we discussed all topics together and helped each other out when needed.

What is it like to work in a startup?

Working in a startup is very different, to what I was used to in a big concern in Germany, it is more than just a job, there is a real unique atmosphere, because of this special startup spirit. Everything works faster, everybody needed to be up-to-date with the new tools and the latest business trends. Not a single day looked like the day before, we all needed to adapt quickly and learned new things every single day.

In a startup, there is a lot more freedom in the tasks you get, there are no strict barriers between the different roles and work is not strictly supervised. The relationships between employees and superiors are on eye level and friendly which made work life very enjoyable.

Living in Barcelona:

Coming to Barcelona was totally different from what I was used to in Germany as I switched from a small village of 2.800 inhabitants to a city with 1.6 million inhabitants plus 8 million tourists throughout the year. Cultural shock? Possible, luckily I did not experience such, as I was heartily welcomed by my team at Hibox on the one hand and by my host family on the other hand. I experienced the Spanish people as very open, friendly and always willing to help. With a mix of English and Spanish every conversation was possible with ease. So, no need to worry about getting the things you need or making interesting acquaintances. What else? As I already mentioned, I spent my internship working in a nice and hardworking, but fun startup within the week and had regularly holidays on the weekends, tanning at the beach already at the end of March, visiting the countless sights of Barcelona and enjoying tapas with my team or friends.

If you have an opportunity to work or study in Barcelona, go for it! It’s an amazing experience, Barcelona is a great place to meet new people from everywhere in the world. Hibox is an awesome place to work at, it’s a very friendly team where I learned a lot.

¡Saludos!

Tobias

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