As part of our conversations with the younger rebels, those of us who started out as interns and who are now an integral part of the team, this time we’ve asked Mihai to share a little about his own journey.
Mihai has been with us for almost a year now, having gone through a 10-week .NET internship initially, where, under the mentorship of some of our smartest engineers, he and his colleagues learned to work effectively as part of a team, learning, failing and growing together.
Like many of the rebel interns, he has quickly blended in and learned along the way how to aim towards a healthy balance between work, life and university. Today, he is building digital solutions to one of our key accounts, and he’s confident that the learning process won’t stop in the near future.
When he got some spare time, you can find him jamming to some classic rock ballads. Occasionally, on a good Friday evening, he’ll show off his cook skills, preparing some of his epic signature hamburgers, having everyone stay for this treat, and mingle in the backyard of our office for hours into the evening.
When and why did you choose an internship?
I started looking for an internship because the university encouraged but kind of suggested that we should find a place to get some proper work experience. The options were to either work for the university or in an actual company and so I decided to go for the latter.
Did you have a specific pattern when looking for companies to apply for?
I just knew that I wanted to get to a place where people were nice and where I could get along with all my colleagues, although it sounds a bit utopian. I just felt it was a real possibility.
Around the time I decided to go for an internship, a career fair took place which I thought was going to be helpful but ended up confusing me even more.
There were about 30 different companies at that fair, a mixture of everything, You’d attend a presentation, then you’d jump from one to another, without understanding anything about their actions and their culture.. It seemed quite tough to make a choice.
How did you end up choosing RebelDot?
I remember there were a lot of pictures from barbecues / team-buildings, and Christmas parties.
Clearly it looked like a place where people feel good.
Seeing all this, I asked the girls at the RebelDot booth for details about the professional opportunities and, of course, about the technical aspects of the available internship.
I really wanted to do back-end and I saw that the internship was based on the .NET technology which was just what I wanted.
It was a perfect match, in fact, the first internship I have applied for.
How did you feel after the interviews?
To be honest, after the HR interview, I remember telling myself that this is where I want to be. It was a very nice and friendly conversation.
Feeling this oddly familiar vibe from the very beginning, I realized that this is the kind of mood I would like to have at work constantly .
As serious and professional as the conversation was, I didn’t feel it was something procedural, but rather a genuine and casual conversation.
I felt like a human being and not like a “human resource”.
Tell me about your first week as an intern at RebelDot.
I was happy to see that everyone was excited to meet us, me and my fellow intern colleagues, get to know us and support us with any question we had. That day was also when we met our mentor, Emi, kicking off a 4-week training period.
The really interesting part came when we started the actual internship project.
I don’t think any of us have worked in a team in this way before. That is, to try to organize ourselves, each with his bit and his responsibilities, so that in the end we can synchronize and organize as a team.
How was the team-work like as an intern?
To give you some context, everything I had done in terms of “team-work” until then had been in college where someone would come up with ideas and we’d try to help each other. It was very superficial, though…
At the internship, however, everyone had their own piece. We were self-sustaining, but also responsible for the team’s work. When we didn’t know something, we would communicate with each other and teach each other.
I realized that things go much faster and that you learn from others. I saw that as long as everyone does a little bit and we’re transparent to each other, the puzzle comes out until the end.
Besides, I was constantly motivated by our mentor to learn more. I remember him handing out the usual tasks and then telling me “Mihai, this one seems like a breeze. Don’t you want a challenge?” This had me prove to myself that I have a lot of potential to explore and materialize.
Do you have any memorable moments throughout the internship?
Yes. The 3 years anniversary.
It was very nice because I met a lot of people. In the following days after the party, I was even more excited to go to the office because I knew I would recognize a lot of the people I met there.
Everyone was super friendly and I felt comfortable making conversation with every person present there.
This is one advantage of RebelDot being a highly selective company when it comes to people’s character. You can clearly see that, although everyone is kinda different, you are surrounded by nice people.
There ain’t a super-specific -specific pattern. I would say that we rather complement each other with our different personalities.
Which is amazing.
What is one aspect that you enjoy the most as part of RebelDot?
The fact that everyone is open to communication. You can ask anyone for help, no matter what you ask. People will not judge you. When you have open-minded people who care about you and your opinion, it is very easy to come up with suggestions and simply speak your mind up.
That is, in fact, actively promoted within the company – the spirit of initiative, the desire to experiment and implicitly to develop both the business and yourself as a professional and as a human being.
What do you like to do outside work?
I like to play the guitar. I haven’t done it in a while, but I’m still trying to recover on this side.
I like to spend time with people and I have time for all this even if I work.
Sometimes the faculty also intervenes, but even so, I am in a position where I manage to make time for university and the projects for university as well as work and of course, social life.
Did the internship help you as a student?
What I noticed is that the way I am now studying and completing my uni projects has started to be the same. I’m much more organized now. Somehow this way of doing things came organically, a way I learned during the internship, constantly collaborating with my team, but also developing independently.
I like to take things in stride and see how it all works.
I now see programming quite similar to playing the guitar – divide it into small pieces until you get a result.
When you learn a new song, for instance, you try to divide everything into smaller pieces. Take a small part and do it until it’s okay.
The same goes for programming – I have a function to do – I do it in small pieces and I check that each piece works properly. It’s also about the structure.
What advice would you give to a student looking for an internship?
Say what you have in mind at the interviews.
Be exactly the way you are and speak your mind. Be honest with yourself and to the people you’re talking to.
That’s because you can’t get anywhere by being someone you’re not.
If you don’t like the way you are, try to change and get to your best option, or if you like the way you are, just be yourself.
People will appreciate that you are committed and genuine and eventually you will get to the right place, along with the right people.
Let's grow together!
While our internship positions are currently closed, chances are you will find an attractive role on our careers page anyway. Take a shot and apply for it and let’s see if that’s the kind of place where you’d like to kick off a career in tech.