Eugenie Gruman W’16 interned at EmporioCompras in Buenos Aires, Argentina

2015-2016 Sutton Entrepreneurial Intern Fellow

How did you find the position?
I studied abroad for a semester in Buenos Aires and made some contacts there and researched startups. I took part in the Sage Corps program, which placed me in a retail tech startup. They helped find a startup that matched my interests and my needs.

What was your motivation for working at a start-up this summer?
I wanted an experience where I would have a true learning opportunity. I have little work experience and felt like I did not know enough to be useful in a corporate environment where you are expected to know everything. A startup environment is much more collaborative and forgiving if you need to ask questions.

What advice would you give to students interested in working at a start-up this summer?
I would advise not to work for a startup you’re not 100% excited about. It is sometimes hard to find motivation in such a small company when no one is truly controlling your work but if you are excited about the startup’s product or service, and/or its values, you will be more likely to be 100% motivated every single day you walk into your office.

My experience
I worked for EmporioCompras, a retail tech startup in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The firm was pretty small when I started, with around twenty employees. By the time I finished my eight-week internship, the firm employed 30 people. It was very exciting to work in such a fast-evolving and ever-changing environment. My favorite part about my entrepreneurial experience was the culture. Startups truly make an effort to foster collaboration and my coworkers tried to make me feel comfortable expressing my ideas from day one. The CEO welcomed me on my first day and explained the company’s operations to me. I then met with every director in the company: that of marketing, operations, HR, etc. They each took the time to describe their specific jobs and duties. That was invaluable in understanding the company better and getting to know my team.

I worked on very varied projects throughout the summer, since they would ask me to work on whatever was most urgent. My official title was Business Strategy and Data Analytics Intern. I mostly worked on creating Excel models for the company to be able to use this summer and beyond, and evaluated the profitability of vendors. The goal was not simply to help with the current tasks at hand but also to make a long-lasting impact on the company. The CEO told me the models I created would be very useful in the year to come as they evaluate potential new vendors. I also started the startup’s first Profits and Losses Statement.