Life in London as a HR Intern at a start-up
Meet Suparna. After completing an MA at the University of Sheffield, she interned at a start-up in London and now works as a HR Consultant at Ernst and Young in Bangalore.
Why did you want to intern in Britain?
Interning abroad doesn’t just add value to your CV, but also to your personality. The opportunity to meet and work alongside people from different backgrounds, getting exposure to different methods of working at an international level is something that one can find only when they are outside their comfort zone. Also, I believe stepping out of my comfort zone always brings out the best in me.
What was your internship?
I interned at a start-up called CognitionX in London. It was my first ever experience in a start-up, and one that dealt with a SaaS platform and AI. I was very new to these fields, but it was a great opportunity for me to work alongside people from various backgrounds and learn. The agile and dynamic nature of a start-up was overwhelming initially, but I had the chance to dive right in and get hands0on from day one.
Learning how HR works in a start-up was very interesting and different to what I had been exposed to earlier back home. I could be proactive and bring new ideas to the table whilst closely observing the existing functions in an organisation. Every day I went home having learned something new, which was very fulfilling.
What was your first week like?
I had only visited London three times as a student before moving as a temporary resident. The life one leads there as a tourist versus as a resident of the city is very different. I had studied in Sheffield, which is a small and quaint city compared to London. The bustling, busy streets and packed Tubes of London, especially in the early hours, reminded me of home. However, the one thing that I remember is the way my entire office amongst many others used to hit the pub, every Friday evening. Apparently, it was a ‘Friday Ritual’. It was a great way to break the ice and get to know my colleagues better.
What were your co-workers like?
The most memorable person I met was one of my colleagues who soon became one of the best mates I ever had. She was my go-to person for everything, on both the work and home front. Being away from home, I used to often find myself yearning for some company. Being a Londoner herself, she used to take me to her favourite spots and coffee shops in London, which were not crowded with tourists. She not just helped me explore places and things to do in London but also made me realise so many things about myself as a person, which even I wasn’t aware of. I had always considered myself to be the least adventurous person around, but she helped me move out of my shell and experience things I never thought I would. She gave me the feel of being at home in a foreign land, and for that I am very grateful.
What did you learn from your internship?
One of the best skills I learnt was networking. My work gave me a great opportunity to connect with people and especially women who have made it big in HR, at an international level. I had multiple opportunities to interact and work with them closely, which inspired me to progress further in this field. Additionally, another important skill was multi-tasking. The idea of managing work and home was a bit overwhelming in the beginning, but having been in that situation, I used to organise my day in a way where I could meet demands. I could not have asked for a better introduction to ‘Adulthood’. This experience gave me the confidence to take up my own flat in India, where I run an entire house on my own, whilst working simultaneously.
What advice would you give to someone looking to intern in Britain?
Best insider tip would be to make the most of your time abroad. Explore and do things that a resident would do, apart from doing the usual touristy things. The best way to do that is by befriending someone who has been living there. Additionally, push yourself and connect with people as you would never get a chance to experience this elsewhere.
Inspired? Our Intern in Britain program is open for students and recent graduates of all nationalities. Get professional job experience, internationalise your CV and experience life in one of the most progressive and multicultural countries in the word. Our work here is done...