The following text is an interview with Štěpán, Ondra, and Paulina — our talented interns
All three of them joined the company in 2018 to support senior members of our Business Development team. Read their stories and get to know them better
What do you do apart from being an intern at Kiwi.com?
Štěpán: I do my studies in IT and economics, which takes up virtually all my time — even though I am able to find some free time usually. But to be honest, sometimes it’s rather difficult to combine it all together.
Ondra: I study at the same faculty, I mean the Faculty of Informatics, not both. That would be too much for me. It probably allows me to have more free time. Although, it’s usually wasted anyway… [Laughs] Not a big win here.
Paulina: I study at two different universities. Two different fields, too — international relations, and mathematics and statistical economics. The latter goes somewhat into data analytics. But I’ve only just finished my first term and I’m no expert.
What was your outlook on Kiwi.com before joining the company?
O: Before joining as an intern, I heard the story of how it had been founded. That was pretty much it and then for some time I heard nothing. Later on, one of my Facebook friends joined the company. Afterwards, my newsfeed was flooded with pictures from the company kitchen and the different events. I had gotten pretty hooked up even before I joined.
P: For me, it was similar. Some of my friends had joined the company a few years before and so I knew it’s full of motivated people who like to party [laughs] and who are really creative. Of course, I didn’t only join for the parties but for the creative environment, too.
How different was it from your initial expectations?
O: I expected it to be crazier. As I said, I hadn’t heard anything about the company for a while and still kind of considered it a small startup. And even though the company is keeping the startup culture, I believe it’s more grown-up. More mature.
Š: My experience is the complete opposite [laughs]. As an intern, they certainly won’t provide you with any sort of manual when joining the Business Development team at Kiwi.com. You’ll need to show some initiative, ask questions, and try to figure out what to do. In this sense, I think the company is still quite chaotic. When nothing is written down, different people can give you completely different answers. And it’s up to you to make some sense out of it.
So, what do you actually do at Kiwi.com?
P: I’m working in a team that mostly takes care of the affiliate and B2B partners, especially the small ones. First, there’s a general introduction to the company. Afterwards, we go and find the right solution for the partner.
Do all three of you work in the same position?
Š: Officially, we perform the same role. Yet we do slightly different things. By this I mean that the core is the same — we take care of the affiliate channel. However, Paulina, for instance, prepares presentations and pushes other people to do their part. I, on the other hand, look after API support and I also do a bit of Python programming.
O: I’m a person of mystery when it comes to my work at Kiwi.com. But I mostly do ad-hoc tasks. Recently I have taken over a few small OTAs, that’s close to Account Management.
What have you learned during your internship so far?
P: I’ve learned to communicate much better. We also had to learn how to ask questions, how to improvise and how to come up with creative solutions.
Š: Sometimes it’s like: improvise, adapt, overcome. I’m serious.
O: But you’ll always find someone who can help. So you’re not completely lost and alone. [Laughs]
What has surprised you the most here?
P: I was really surprised that it’s not so hard to get in touch with senior people here. I think it’s quite open here. You can communicate directly with people who could be hard to reach in some other companies.
What is it like to work with so many people from foreign countries?
Š: You get to practice a lot of languages.
P: Not only the ones you know [laughs].
Š: For instance, I can speak a little bit of Russian. You stumble upon a lot of Cyrillic here. And we also get emails in German and French or Hebrew. Although, none of us speaks Hebrew.
P: Google Translate does. And translating texts in foreign languages can be useful at times since you can also see different approaches with different partners.
Š: Yes, sometimes you receive an email precisely describing what you’re supposed to do, step by step. Sometimes, on the other hand, you receive something like: “I want an API,” or: “Affiliate network.”
What do you think comes next in terms of business? Do you see space for something new?
Š: I think that the future might go in two directions. Either multimodal or associated services, such as hotels, etc. The possibilities are limitless here because you can link any service to travelling.
What would be one thing about Kiwi.com or your position you would change?
Š: To be honest, it’s difficult to say. I don’t keep a list.
P: Kiwi.com cinema!
O: Would you go there? Have you ever been to the game room or the gym [laughs]?
P: No. But for example, movie marathons could be cool. Like The Lord of the Rings.
Is there anything I haven’t asked about but you feel like it should be shared?
P: I think we forgot to mention that the internship can be easily combined with study. You can partially work remotely, which is a huge advantage.
Š: I would also add that it kind of solves the nagging question about your future. When you finish school and the next day you wake up like: “What now?” If you work at a company like Kiwi.com alongside your studies, it opens a number of doors for you.
O: You get a great taste of life after school. It shows you the importance of certain things. It shows you what skills you need. It makes me feel like I’m prepared for what’s coming even when I’m sure I’m not [laughs]!