In the “Job Profiles” interviews, various members of the InterNations team introduce their role in the company and the work they do. Here, Senior Business Analytics Manager Kamila discusses her career at InterNations, how to have fun in a rather serious job, and why working in business intelligence never gets boring.
Can you tell us very briefly what you do at InterNations?
I’m a Senior Business Analytics Manager in the Finance & Business Intelligence Department. We support most of the other teams with the data they need for their decision-making.
The BI Data Engineering Team retrieves and prepares the data, but it’s the Business Analytics Managers who visualize them. We prepare reports with various metrics for different teams and generally try to give more and better insights to our colleagues. We help them navigate the huge amount of data and adjust our reporting to what works best for them.
And how long have you been working for InterNations?
I started out as an intern in 2014. I had just graduated in business informatics — a mixture of IT and economics — from the University of Economics in Bratislava. Since I’d had German lessons at school, I wanted to put my German skills to the test. That’s why I was looking for graduate internships in Austria and Germany.
When I saw the InterNations ad for a Business Intelligence Intern, I thought immediately, “Wow, this is a perfect match.” The position seemed a little challenging, but in a good way. I could apply what I’d learned at university in an actual business context. And to be completely honest, I also loved the idea of living in Munich since I love hiking and skiing. Being so close to the Alps was just perfect.
My first contract was for a six-month internship. Very soon, I realized that I really, really liked both my new job at InterNations and my new life in Munich. So, I asked at first if they could extend my contract, and then if I could get an “upgrade” from intern to a regular full-time position.
What do you like best about your job? Or are you getting a bit bored by business analytics?
When you work in business intelligence, you’re kind of right in the middle of things. By supporting everyone else, you’re in touch with more or less every single team and department at some point. So, you need a wide scope of knowledge about how the entire company works. You also get to work with lots of colleagues from various other teams.
For example, I work with our colleagues from the Community Engagement Team a lot. That’s the team supporting the InterNations members who host official events and activities worldwide. The COVID-19 pandemic has kept them — and me — rather busy. For instance, they introduced a new online event format. So, I helped them with this new setup and implemented it into their reports. On top of this, there are always some ad hoc tasks coming in. No, I’m definitely not getting bored!
Moreover, you constantly have to learn more about the various software tools and programming languages you can use to work with data. For example, Power BI — the tool we’re using at InterNations — releases software updates and new features every month. I always make sure to check out what’s new and how this might help us with our daily work. And every few years, I notice different trends for what helps business intelligence teams display their data faster, better, and more conveniently for the end users.
At the moment, it seems to be becoming more important to be familiar with programming languages such as R or Python. To put it very simply, knowing those programming languages can help you to better describe, categorize, explore, and display your existing data, to evaluate your metrics, find patterns, and understand trends. So, I’ve now started a Python course to stay on top on things.
How has your job in the Business Analytics Team changed over the past few years?
I’ve just explained why my tasks themselves never get repetitive or boring. What has really changed for me, though, is my confidence. I feel much more at ease when tackling complex tasks or talking to members of the management board. With a higher level of confidence and experience, I’ve become a lot more independent with regard to making decisions and working with other teams.
I remember going to meetings with my colleagues years ago. I would just give some occasional input if I happened to know a particular PXT (Product Experience Team) or a specific department a bit better. But today, I know how to best support other teams across the company and how to improve upon what they’d like us to do.
How would you describe the team culture and team spirit in Business Intelligence?
Though we have a rather serious job, we still have fun at work. A couple of weeks ago, for example, I posted a joke of the day in our team’s Slack channel every day. We usually laugh a lot together. Instead of hierarchies, we have an easygoing team culture. We can be open with each other and gently poke fun at one another.
But we also support each other and help each other out if we’re stuck on a task or problem. At the moment, I’m onboarding a new colleague remotely. We’ve been encouraging him to reach out to us with any questions he might have.
In general, we want to empower each other, expand our knowledge together, and share inspiration for what we might want to introduce or improve in our team. I’m very eager to see which skills my new colleague has, so we can make our business reporting even better.
And what about the general company culture at InterNations?
When I started my internship at InterNations, I felt very nervous. I was fresh out of university, and this position was my first proper work experience. I didn’t know anything about the company culture — especially since I’d be working abroad for a foreign company. For example, I was unsure which tone of voice to take when talking to my boss or colleagues. But I found it very easy to get started at InterNations.
We have a motto to remind InterNations members to welcome new attendees at our events around the globe: “Nobody stands alone!” And it really felt that way to me as a new team member too. The people here are open minded and try their best to help each other, and it was easy to strike up conversations. We also have lots of fun together, and there are quite a few close-knit relationships within the team.
As an intern who didn’t know anyone in Munich, I would often take trips with the other interns at the time. Luckily, that happened long before COVID-19! We would hang out together after work or go on weekend trips to destinations such as Tegernsee. These days, I’m pretty good friends with Jelena, our Senior Online Marketing Manager. We even happen to live in the same neighborhood. Sometimes, I drop by just to keep her company or to “kidnap” her very cuddly dog and take him for a walk.
I’m glad we have the kind of team culture that’s not just about showing up at work, putting in your eight hours, closing your laptop, and calling it a day.
Image credit: InterNations / iStockphoto / Vecteezy / Unsplash