A typical day as a Market Research and Strategy Intern at Oradian

Laura Dreese joined Team Oradian from Columbia Business School in New York as a Market Research and Strategy Intern. We talked to her halfway through her 10-week summer internship programme at our Zagreb HQ and Africa.

What does a typical day at Oradian look like? 

On a typical day, I leave the house by 8:30am and walk through the streets of downtown Zagreb to get to the office a bit before 9am. If I have time to spare, I may stop at the bustling Dolac market right outside of the office to pick up fresh cherries to munch on throughout the day.

Once in the office, I will take a few minutes to grab some coffee and greet my co-workers before getting down to business. As a Market Research and Strategy Intern, my job is to determine which new markets Oradian should enter and how we should enter them. Sometimes I need to pinch myself to believe it is true, but the fact is that as an intern, I am driving company strategy.

I spend my first hour responding to emails or completing items that can be finished quickly. Then at 10:30am, the meetings kick off with my Market Research Africa daily standup. Daily standups are 15-minute, daily meetings where everyone involved in a project checks in on progress. These frequent check ins keep everyone in the loop and address problems quickly. I also participate in the daily stand-ups for Market Research Asia and Customer Acquisition Africa. Often, these calls involve colleagues from thousands of miles away, so taking care to schedule them at times convenient for all time zones is key.

After my standups, I’ll use the time before lunch to meet with a colleague to leverage the tremendous expertise of the Oradian team. Oradian employs over 100 people from diverse industry and cultural backgrounds, so chances are that whatever I’m struggling with, someone can help. After lunch is when I can really dive deep into my “work-work”. This is when I will pore over reports from the Central Bank of Kenya, or work with our Senior Marketer to design campaigns to gain market insights in Egypt.

What attracted you to apply to an internship at Oradian’s HQ in Zagreb?

I didn’t know very much about Zagreb before I applied (I was more interested in the job itself, the location was secondary), but I have since grown extremely fond of this city. Coming from NYC, Zagreb is a quaint paradise, full of plants, cute cafes and shops, and fresh markets. It is big enough to always have something to do, but small enough to get places quickly and to get a good night’s sleep.

Being at the HQ offers a lot of advantages. While technology is amazing and enables us to conference with our colleagues in the Philippines or in Nigeria, there is something to be said for being able to just walk up to your colleagues in person and bounce random ideas off of them. Being at Oradian’s HQ allows you to do that with the largest number of people.

What did you learn at Oradian that wouldn’t have been possible to learn in a classroom?

I learned how to become a better manager and to trust my instincts. You can learn about management techniques in the classroom, but until you are tested in a real situation, it is difficult to truly learn. I was thrown into managing a market research team which had team members across multiple time zones. Over time, I learned to trust my instincts and to speak up quickly to keep us on track towards our goals.

What’s one way that you developed professionally that you didn’t expect?

I never expected having to plan the organisational structure and the human resources for the market research team. I thought my position was going to be purely technical, but since the environment at Oradian is so entrepreneurial, I found that I was thrown into the deep end, building the market research team from the ground up. I have no formal training in human resources and found this experience quite challenging. However, the experience was rewarding, and I feel like I developed professionally through the process.

Want to join Oradian’s fast-growing team?

Oradian represents over 20 nationalities, brought together by our financial inclusion mission. We are a team of experts from a unique combination of industries: microfinance, financial inclusion, and technology – with teams working in Zagreb, Croatia, and in-market with our customers.

To join Oradian, see our job openings.