Unibuddy is a rapidly growing EdTech start-up based in Old Street. They provide universities with a platform which allows prospective students from across the world to contact current students directly. In doing so, the universities are able to widen their outreach, and develop better relationships with best-fit students.
Having worked as a Buddy myself for New College of the Humanities for several years, Unibuddy seemed like an excellent company to approach. I’ve been interested in the Education Technology industry for some time now, and my time with them has been incredibly useful. What began as a one-month internship in June 2019 developed into an intense summer’s work, and a highly productive part-time role throughout my final year at University.
Unibuddy employs twenty-five and I was quickly introduced to members from each of the departments. With most of my prior knowledge revolving around the religious controversies of the early-modern period, this was a fantastic opportunity. I quickly came to understand what “Sales” actually entailed, how they might work with “Customer Success” to identify what universities most needed, and how that information then was fed back to, then developed by “Product” and the “Tech Team”.
At first, I moved lots around the company. One week, I helped the Customer Success team develop training manuals for new Buddies. Another week, I helped the Product Team identify how they might make the platform more engaging for the Buddies using it, and then worked on developing the principles of the ensuing “Trophy System”. I’d also end up eating lunch in the sun with members of the marketing department, the C-Suite, Data Science and the tech team. Yet to my surprise, the serious work only began as my “month” came to an end.
Unibuddy is growing rapidly, and even over my internship, the office became more and more full. In late June, I was asked to stay on in a paid role to find Unibuddy their new headquarters in London, a first office in the New York, and to oversee the visa application process to move employees out there. The deadline for all of this was October the first. I quickly found myself in a whirlwind of meetings. I needed to gather the needs of each department for a new office, gain an understanding of the market for office space in London and New York, not to mention develop enough of a knowledge of legalese to be able to translate it into English, and get the correct information off the CEO and other US-bound employees.
I cannot begin to state how valuable those next few months were. I found myself working closely with the CEO and founder, Diego. Whilst he gave me complete independence in my movements and methods, he helped me develop my organisational skills, introduced me to a range of characters from the start-up world and gave me my first taste of the wide range of roles required in the world of business and ed-tech. I also learned that, after a certain point, coffee will make you less, rather than more productive. A lesson well learned – I hope.
Whilst I began my internship hoping to move straight into Ed-tech, my work with Diego has given me the confidence to begin my own start-up when I leave NCH. Alongside some of my classmates, I hope to create a non-for profit which will encourage giving to rough-sleepers. Whilst I work part- time for Unibuddy over the next year, Diego has kindly offered to advise us on how to start, who to talk to, where to look for funding.
Overall, I have a lot to be thankful for this summer. Whilst I couldn’t have afforded to undertake an unpaid internship, I was sponsored by Wallace LLP through NCH. This meant not only could I work for Unibuddy, but that I could also eat and have somewhere to sleep! I’ve met some incredible people, and been supported with a great deal of generosity. It was only through the kindness of Amy, the head of US customer success, who stayed behind after a Unibuddy conference to talk to me, that I got the internship in the first place. From it, my skill-set has grown, as has my CV, and I feel that, compared to where I was in May, the future has a lot more in store.