IES Internships Header Image IES Internships Header Image

IES Internships - Berlin Summer Internship

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Internship Placement


  • Program Administration


  • Living Situation


  • Cultural Immersion


  • Health and Safety


  • Social Life


My introduction to the world of online marketing

During the summer of 2016, I completed a two-month internship at BigchainDB (formerly Ascribe), a scalable database and start-up company headquartered in Berlin, Germany.
My internship duties and responsibilities involved marketing; preparing written communications for different fora ranging from social media; newsletters, and brochures; the creation of analytics and editing of video projects for optimum data visualization. Working under the direct supervision of Bigchain’s Marketing and Communications Manager, I gained hands on experience and insight into the day-to day world of online marketing in a fast growing small enterprise.
Initially, I had applied to work with Ascribe; a company that provides various services to digital artists who publish their work electronically. Nowadays, anyone can easily stream items off the Internet and claim ownership. Hence, it is difficult to ensure that these digital artists are fairly compensated. The founders of Ascribe wished to address this issue by creating a platform on which artists could safely publish and track the distribution of their art, and ensure that they would receive fair compensation. To make all these features possible Ascribe used bitcoin, the currency of the Internet. Within a short period of time, the founders of Ascribe saw the need for a database with tailor made tracking features and the use of bitcoin. Since the team could not find a database that combined these two features, Ascribe decided to create the product itself, a product now known as BigchainDB. Over the course of Ascribe’s development, the team created other products, including a public database, the Interplanetary Database (IPDB) and the webpage Where On the Net (WOTN). I joined the team at quite an exciting period because the company was transitioning their name and main product from Ascribe over to BigchainDB.
Like many start-up companies which experience many structural and strategic transformations in their business growth cycle, I witnessed BigchainDB undergo a few drastic changes that shifted the company’s focus and direction. This included a company name change from Ascribe to BigchainDB; a main product modification, and personnel lay-off to accommodate the company’s restructuring.
Notwithstanding the latter harsh lesson of “at-will” employment in the private sector, a significant reason for my amazing experience at BigchainDB was the diversity of staff of Bigchain’s small team and work force. The team consisted of seventeen members, all originating from various countries, including but not limited to Canada, England, Poland, and Italy. Apart from the founders most of the staff were in their late twenties or early thirties. Working with a relatively young and international team enable me to experience the type of environment I aspire to work after graduate school. Overall, BigchainDB provided an inclusive work environment in which my opinion and performance as an intern was valued as much as that of any other staff on the team.
Simply stated, I do believe that the internship at BigchainDB sharpened my European perspective on the critical role of marketing for start-up companies. Moreover, this experience has also informed my consideration for graduate school programs.