Not Just Another Intern Blog Post: BioConnect Summer 2018 Interns
This past summer, I had the opportunity to work as a marketing intern at BioConnect, a fast-growing biometrics access control company based in Toronto. I had the chance to meet and work with some amazing people in cross-functional teams including: Sales, Quality Assurance and Tech Support. Along with getting acquainted with this incredible group of BioConnectors, I also had the pleasure of working alongside four other interns Blake, John, Nathan and Stefano who were working in different departments at BioConnect.
Yash Raje, Stefano Roque, John Anthony, Jamie Bergmann
I had an unforgettable experience working here this past summer, but I wanted to know more about how the other interns felt about the company and their specific roles. I felt these interviews would allow me to cast a spotlight on the marvellous company culture that BioConnect has and the remarkable work the interns have done this summer.
The following interview compiles some of my favourite answers from the four interviews that I conducted. The questions were focused on two aspects, the projects they have worked on and its benefit to BioConnect, as well as their time here and the experiences they’ve had in the past few months. I felt both categories embodied BioConnect as a whole; a hardworking, dedicated company, with a strong company culture.
Yash: What is your role at Bioconnect and what do you do on a day to day basis?
[Blake]: I am currently a sales intern, working with the sales team. I work with their renewal software.
[Nathan]: I’m working with tech support this summer. I’m making tutorial videos for the support site and for the tech support team to use on a bunch of things we don’t have tutorials or support articles on.
[Stefano]: I’m an engineering intern and I’m working with our Bioconnect ID software.
[John]: Formally, Quality Assurance. However, I help out wherever I’m needed - usually technical problems. I make sure that the products we release are quality products with no errors or bugs. This involves creating automated tests and manually checking the functionality of each application we produce.
Yash: What are some projects you are working on right now, or have worked on since you started?
[Blake]: So, the biggest project I’m in the process of working on was related to our software support agreements. There was a ton of different data and databases, and I was responsible for consolidating all of it to make sure that the sales team would be able to keep a track of a security software subscription that may run out, or any trial subscriptions that may need to be upgraded.
[Nathan]: So far, I’ve made 17 videos in total this summer, and 11 of those are on the support site as of right now on stuff like how to add a secure IO, how to add a door [and stuff like that]. And then 4 of them went on YouTube which I then edited them down a little bit, so they can be put into BioConnect 4.5.
[Stefano]: Well, my main project is developing a machine learning model for our BioConnect ID software, that uses information like what time you usually log in, where and how you would usually log in, and based on that, we can increase security. So, for example, if you usually log-in in Toronto Monday to Friday, but all of a sudden you log-in from London, England then there must be some sort of irregularity, so it’ll flag that.
[John]: So, from a broad perspective, some of the major projects I’ve been involved in include BioConnect Enterprise, BCID, Desktop OTP, Mobile Credentials and many other mini projects.
Yash: What made you choose BioConnect specifically for your internship?
[Blake]: So, I knew Rob [BioConnect CEO and Founder] a long time ago before I started working here, and I knew the type of person he was, and so interacting with the people I knew at BioConnect here before I did, I learned about how amazing and awesome it is to work here, how it was very lighthearted but professional at the same time.
You’ve been here for over 2 months now. What is something that you have learned in this time that you didn’t know before starting?
[Nate]: Oh, I’ve actually learned tons in this summer alone. Working with tech support, in my second week here I had to learn about basic networking for the readers from Praveen [Technical Services Manager], and I use that every single day when I’m working with the hardware and software, not to mention learning about the hardware and software as well in order to understand the problems with it so that I can make videos about it.
Moving on to the culture side of the interview; I found this was the part where the interview seemed more relaxed as we all reminisced and discussed some of the great times that we have gotten to experience this summer.
What is the most memorable experience you’ve had so far working at BioConnect? [Blake]: Well one Wednesday morning, we played basketball at Stanley park which was really fun because I really didn’t expect that many people to come out, but we had quite a few people and it was a really fun time. Its either that or watching Shane ring the gong for the release of a BCID update, which again goes to show how important culture is around here.
Blake Mueller, Sales Intern
In your own words, how would you describe BioConnect as a company?
[Stefano]: Personally, I’d say that its very fast growing and very driven. Everyone who works [at BioConnect] seems to be committed to the company as a whole rather than any individual progress they make on their own which I think is one of the many reasons why they’ve been able to be as successful as they are.
There are over 60 employees working at BioConnect right now. Who are some people you’ve interacted with on a daily basis and what are some of your most memorable moments with them?
[Nate]: Well, I mean I think interacting with you guys, the interns the most, probably because we’re friends now. I’d have to say that’s the most memorable I guess. Other than that, I mostly interact with the tech support guys, Praveen and Allan [Technical Services Manager in Tech Services mostly.
Nathan Shreve, Tech Support Intern
How do you think company culture has made an impact on your time here? What are some examples where it has affected you?
[John]: The company’s culture has definitely had a huge impact on me over my time here. I have grown far more than I would have if I was working at any other place. Many times, I am thrown into a situation with little assistance (in a good way) and I have to learn how to solve the problem. This forces me to grow instead of being spoon fed the answer.
What do you think is the best part about BioConnect?
[Stefano]: For me, the fact that I’m able to do actual work that can actually benefit the company in the long run, as opposed to the stereotypical intern responsibilities like getting coffees and making copies, you know?
What is something that you found challenging during this internship? This can be something new you had to learn, or a project you were assigned?
[John]: I am often working in many different areas of the company at the same time, where the different areas all require me to get my work done in a timely matter. Determining what is most important and staying organized was definitely a challenge when navigating all the work that had to be done.
To summarize, I found that the answers I got from the four very closely mirrored my own opinions about our time at BioConnect. We all seemed to have made the most of this great opportunity, learning so much from our fellow co-workers, while also having a fun and memorable time with this amazing company. Personally, I found that the four months I have been working here have been simply unbelievable. From the numerous learning opportunities that I was presented with, as well the chance to work on projects that had a real business impact were the most rewarding aspects. This internship strayed far away from the stereotypical “getting coffee” internship, which was definitely a factor that positively affected my time at BioConnect.
I found that my own personal conclusions about the past 4-months were very similar to what my fellow interns felt. During the interviews, it was clear to see that each of them have contributed something unique to BioConnect which was a factor that was very important to them. While we all worked on different teams within BioConnect, it was clear to see the similarities in all of our answers. It was evident we all had an unforgettable intern experience working at BioConnect this summer; learning valuable skills from our co-workers, while also getting to experience a unique company culture we all felt immersed in. I’m sure we can all say without a doubt that this is a great company to intern at; they’re a company that continues to grow and do great things while maintaining a company culture that is second to none.
All in all, I think that working here at BioConnect with the other interns has been the experience of a lifetime and something I won’t soon forget. I’m excited to learn more about some of the other projects they have worked on during their upcoming intern presentations at the end of the summer.