By William Susanto, Business Development Intern at Zero One Group (ZOG)
ZOG recently launched its Intern Blog Series, highlighting the experiences of summer interns in various divisions. In this series, interns discuss what they have learned and how ZOG is preparing them for the working world.
A short introduction…
My name is William Susanto, and I am a Business Development Intern at Zero One Group.
As a sophomore student at one of the most prestigious and highly competitive business schools in the UK, spending the whole summer engaging in productive activities towards our growth is what is expected of us by our peers, teachers, and of course, our parents. However, the current situation with the global COVID-19 pandemic is quite bothersome and counterproductive for those who have similar intentions.
Readers must understand that current internship opportunities are very competitive, even without the presence of the global pandemic.
It seems that companies have stricter requirements for potential interns or perhaps more and more students realise the importance of internship experiences before graduating from university. Anyway, this is not the topic of this blog, although it might be an interesting one to talk about at a later date.
Today, I want to share my experience of working in Zero One Group for the past month as a business development intern.
My version of exploring the unknown
First of all, I am quite familiar with how and what is expected of me as an intern as I had worked with one of the Big Four accounting firms in Indonesia. I was accepted as an intern at the Risk Consulting Services Division in the Accounting Advisory Services Team, which is in accordance with my accounting and finance background.
To be honest, I was quite anxious when I applied for the internship position at Zero One Group.
Despite my past work experience, business development and the technology sector are fields that I do not have deep knowledge of nor familiarity with. Nevertheless, I was and am still grateful for the opportunity, when considering the difficulties in finding a job amidst the global pandemic.
My internship with ZOG also follows a remote or work-from-home arrangement, which is something that I dislike. I am very conscious of the importance of having a work-life balance in one’s life, and thus, I am strict with keeping the habit of not bringing my work home.
Sounds a bit gloomy so far? Bear with me for a bit.
Self-verification of the general understanding
As accounting and finance students, we generally aim to work in large companies so that our knowledge can be better utilised. Personally, I think that there is some truth to that as typically, much smaller companies have less complex accounting requirements that need to be fulfilled. It was drilled in my head that I must work in large multinational companies to apply my expertise directly, and should not consider working in small companies.
Furthermore, I am also a skeptical individual by nature and would like first-hand experience in order to accept commonly believed perceptions, which include the benefits of working in small companies. Thus, I was always hesitant to accept the idea of working in small companies, and favoured working in large companies.
Having said that and finally experienced what it means to work for a smaller company, I must say that I have been shallow regarding my original perception and now acknowledge the positive side of working for a small company. Of course, the experience will also depend on the hiring company, but I can for sure say that I enjoy working at ZOG as much as I enjoy working at the previous accounting firm.
But why do you ask? Well, there are two main things that make me change my mind and hopefully shed some truth to anyone who is reading this.
First of all, by working in a smaller company, each and every individual, even interns such as myself, are more involved and can be more impactful towards the company performance as a whole.
It brings me a sense of fulfilment when I complete tasks and makes me feel that I’m a part of something big, as my action would affect not only my team but perhaps the whole company as well.
On my first day as an intern at ZOG, I was already being invited to meetings in different divisions and given tasks that will actually contribute to the completion of projects. In my previous experience, similar tasks would only be given after at least one or two months of working with the team. Even some of my fellow interns in the previous firm had never even been invited to a meeting during their internship period. The tasks given are usually insignificant or will not be present in the final deliverable. Most tasks revolve around basic desk jobs such as reviewing documents for typos and any misalignment with templates.
Secondly, and most importantly, I actually have a personal life outside of work even on weekdays while working at ZOG.
It is not just about entering auto-pilot mode to work from Monday through Friday and waiting for weekends to come each and every week. A better personal life outside of work is something that I didn’t have in my previous internship experience. I think this balance should be more present within large companies for a better quality of life as it will affect their performance in the office.
Furthermore, considering the distance of my house and my previous office, I was too worn out during the weekdays to the extent that I didn’t even have the energy left to socialise during the weekends. This is also where I reconsidered my opinion towards a working-from-home idea or agile working environment. I believe that this flexibility helps me save my time and energy that I would have otherwise used to commute to the office.
In terms of productivity, I feel that I managed to finish more tasks than I had before when working in an environment with strict working hours. By managing my own working hours, I have the freedom of completing my tasks on a period when I believe that I can be most productive.
As a person who needs to look to achievements in order to earn a sense of fulfilment, and yet also cherishes the idea of a balanced work and life environment, I conclude that I have managed to earn both while working at ZOG.
Each and every one of you might have a different opinion, but my intention here is to outline a comparison of how your life can be depending on the size of the company that you work with based on my own personal experience.
Of course, there are also a lot of factors that have to be considered when deciding where to work, and what I have written so far is strictly limited to the size of the company that you work with as the base of comparison. The industry in which you work will also determine the kind of experience exposed to you while working. It can be said that it is not fair to compare my experience of working in one of the Big Four and working in ZOG, as both are in completely different industries, or at least my job description in both are different. However, I hope that this post will open you to the possibility of working in smaller companies, and the joys that it brings.