A Beacon of Hope for UGA’s Summer Interns During COVID-19

Written by Alex Meier

September 29, 2020

EDITOR’S NOTE

We had the great pleasure of hosting our very first interns at HatchWorks this past summer. University of Georgia students Alex, Ramatulai and Zach, joined us for six weeks after COVID-19 negatively impacted their planned internships.

Our CEO, Brandon Powell, a UGA alum, saw this is an opportunity to give back to his alma mater and fulfill Hatch Futures’ mission to mentor and train the rising generation of technologists. While our employees found the experience to be enriching and insightful, our esteemed UGA interns wanted to share their perspective on the internship and working with the HatchWorks team. 

Enjoy the read and stay tuned for our next HatchPulse post!

Read on to find out if their experience was as impactful as it was for us, as told by our assigned lead summer intern, Alex Meier.

I feel like the buzzword of the year is “uncertainty.” It’s almost unavoidable in our daily lives these days. That said, it’s definitely not something that I’m unfamiliar with. I was born on an army base in Aurora, Colorado, and moved around for a few years before my family settled down in Hickory, North Carolina. I was lucky to have a diverse and offbeat upbringing and I was consistently surrounded by an eclectic assembly of people, activities, and experiences. Throughout all of this, I’ve held two ideals constant: my desire to be a leader, and a mindset that through hard work and planning, you can overcome uncertainty.

But as I wrapped up my first year with the full-time MBA program at the University of Georgia, I encountered uncertainty yet again. When COVID-19 hit the nation, my planned summer internship with Hertz was cancelled, the interview process for the coming year became unclear, and no one knew what classes would look like in the fall. I was stuck in a no man’s land regarding what to do over the summer when I was contacted about a potential new MBA internship with HatchWorks Technologies. In just a few days, I was already onboarding and engrained in HatchWorks’ team culture.

I was one of three selected summer interns at HatchWorks and they chose to assign me as the lead Strategy Intern for developing the go-to-market strategy and overseeing the microsite development for a new internal product that will launch in 2021. I was joined by fellow Creative Interns, Ramatulai Jagne and Zach LungerTerry College of Business rising juniors majoring in Management Information Systems and honors MIS, respectively. Here’s what we learned during our internship at HatchWorks!

Zach Lunger

When I think of internships, I think of following employees around, sitting in on meetings, and learning the ropes of how to apply skills in a “real” business environment. Did HatchWorks settle for that? Absolutely not. From the first time we talked to them they were setting us up to work on a unique project and treated us like full employees.

In all of my UGA project management classes, we discussed agile project management and how it has revolutionized the software industry – well, that’s how HatchWorks operates. Every day, we were immersed in their culture of work and collaboration and were given the opportunity and independence to truly design our own internship. We had the chance to develop the go-to-market strategy for a new internal product HatchWorks is creating. We did everything from performing analyses on key competitors and pricing structures in the market to creating a fully-functional microsite for the project.

There are many things that my internship taught me, but there are three that really stick out to me:

  1. The high level and frequency of communication that is required for a successful company to run. We consistently met with and held discussions with people across the product team as well as other key stakeholders within HatchWorks, to align and achieve our collective goals.
  2. How nice it is for the leadership team to be willing to talk at any time. Brandon, the CEO, participates in company meetings regularly and hosts a weekly meeting with the entire company to keep everyone in the loop with key updates and announcements. I was impressed to see his transparency and willingness to answer any question thrown his way.
  3. Finally, work-life balance is super important, and HatchWorks did a great job of encouraging a healthy version. The flexibility of taking a day off after a super busy period to spend time with family and friends was much appreciated and led to more satisfying and productive workdays in the end.

Ramatulai Jagne

I had the great opportunity to learn from the product team at HatchWorks and collaborate with them to translate this internal product knowledge into a creative, bold, and informative site that really tells a story for a potential user. Because of how helpful, engaging, and inspiring my team was, I have learned so much during this internship. 

I learned how to work with several project management and creative tools and software that I’ve never been exposed to before. I learned how SaaS products evolve from the creative brainstorming stages to the development of a usable product to being ready to go-to-market. Lastly, I learned how to work with a team of professionals with different concentrations to really bring a project to life through using agile methodologies.

I really enjoyed my time at Hatchworks because I made several valuable connections with my colleagues and due to the experience gained by exercising the curriculum I’m learning in the classroom in a real work environment. This experience has undoubtedly prepared me for my upcoming project management courses and for my future career aspirations of working in the technology industry!

“The quality of the summer intern’s work was so impressive – they were collaborative, hungry and made a strong impact on our team” – Matt Paige

 

For me, this was the best possible outcome for my career and path forward during this corona summer. I gained valuable, challenging work experience, expanded my network with genuinely nice people, and earned some money on the side. I wrapped up my internship with nothing but positive things to say about HatchWorks. The people here know how to do their job really, really well, and are always down to share and help others understand their work. Everyone seems to be committed to leadership’s vision for the company and wants to collaborate with each other to produce better outcomes.

In short, my work has afforded me the opportunity to apply the knowledge I’d gained through both my education and previous jobs while gaining excellent new experience and a chance to make an authentic impact at HatchWorks. On top of that, I gained insights into the changing corporate environment and the importance of being able to quickly adapt to these changes, just as HatchWorks has done under the guidance of its leadership team. I received hands-on training with the leadership team thanks to the flat structure of the company. The HatchWorks team has been supportive in my career development throughout this internship and they were excited to help me, listen to my proposals, work through new ideas, and provide insightful feedback around my work. 

Upon reflection, my time working with HatchWorks has demonstrated something that I can definitely be certain of: this is a company that is worthy of the recognition it receives and it has built a culture of cooperation and ambition that should be emulated by any company that hopes to be successful.

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