Helena is an MSc student in Mathematics of Networks (2015) and has taken up an internship as part of QMUL’s Start Up Internships scheme funded by HEIF. Helena spent 12 weeks as Business Development assistant at science crowdfunding platform Walacea. Walacea aims to get scientific research funded via crowdfunding. Read below to find out how Helena has helped and what she has learned whilst on placement.
What made you apply for this particular role?
I thought it was a very interesting project and I wanted to contribute on its development while learning some of the basics of startup companies. Also, the relation with scientists and a wide range of research projects made the role even more attractive.
What did you do during your experience?
Although the main role and the basis of this internship was to develop scientific projects to be fund-raised by the platform, I ended up helping with many other small duties. First of all we developed the pipeline and future goals of the platform, analysing the market and different approaches to the public. Also, we defined a financial model for the startup, with different outputs according to the growth of the company. I also contacted some professors and researchers to let them know about Walacea, and dealt with some of the website bugs.
What did you learn from the experience?
I learned the basic skills of company planning, in terms of market study and realistic future predictions. Also, I learned how to deal with some press/media related issues (such as publications and the embargo), and how to design crowdfunding projects that will be appealing to the public.
What surprised you about your experience?
The amount of tasks that one has to do when building up a company, but it is definitely rewarding.
Is there anything you would do differently?
Maybe I would have started setting my daily objectives from the very beginning, as working only one day per week it is easy to start many small tasks, but then harder to finish them all in that same week.
What difference did the internship make to you?
I realised that creating your own company from the beginning, having a good idea and working towards it, is feasible and can be done by working very hard. I think about it now as another good option for my future career, and will definitely consider it once I finish with my studies.
What tips do you have for other students and graduates looking to apply for a QInternship?
Try to find something that they are interested in and motivates them. It is very important that they like the internship and the company they choose, otherwise they will miss the opportunity to enjoy a great experience