What’s it like to be an intern at TrueLayer?

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Ares Martorelli, People partner
2 Dec 2019

At TrueLayer, we are busy every day pushing the boundaries of financial innovation 🚀(and trust me, this keeps us really busy)! The journey hasn’t been easy, but we’re getting there. As a company, we’ve grown over the last three years to 81 employees today, 3 floors of an office building, and a plethora of diverse clients across the world.

That said, we are always looking for ways we can give back to the community, from sending our engineers to workshops, to opening our office doors to students eager to see how things work in real life, to volunteering to give code classes to budding technologists. We started reviewing an internship programme in January 2019 when we were only ~ 32 people. You might ask why at such an early stage, of our history, we wanted to have an internship program? As an organisation, we feel it’s invaluable to not just be takers, but also givers. We’re a growing technology company and while our products are used extensively, we feel our impact should not just be in business, but in the community too. It's imperative as an organisation we have a social impact, as well as an economic one.

Given this, our main focus of discussion was the number of interns that we would be able to handle. Especially, as we wanted to make sure that the interns’ experience was formative, cohesive and enjoyable. We decided, therefore, to focus on creating a specific project for every team, and then transformed that into a description of ideal candidates to perform that project.

We were lucky enough to have a wealth of interesting candidates but ultimately only five spots were available: 3 Engineers, 1 Business Operations position, and 1 Growth position (Sales + Customer Success Management). Our interns managed to deliver their projects in just two months and contributed so much to their teams! We have a lot to say about their addition to our business goals, but we’d like you to hear from them.

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Cao An | Frontend developer intern

Final year Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Imperial College London

My experience as an intern at TrueLayer can be summarised in three words: inspiring, exciting and fast.

Interning at this fast-growing start-up meant lots of opportunities to learn from the best whilst developing a sense of autonomy. A curious and can-do spirit will always be appreciated, especially when the bulk of work becomes considerable on certain days. Aside from greatly improving my software development skills, I also learned how to most effectively interact with other team members as well as take and act on my own initiatives at times.

Even though this may sound stressful, I’m glad to say that the working environment is super friendly. It is doubtlessly an incredibly welcoming company where people are valued to the fullest — I felt like I was part of the team from the very first day. Each day the company makes progress and it is a unique and rewarding feeling to realise that your work contributes to it. You, as an intern, can (and should!) make a direct impact.

Finally, the TrueLayer family is one that knows how to relax and enjoy life outside work as well (trust me they do). In my eight weeks here, I had the pleasure to take part in numerous fiestas and late-afternoon drinks, table tennis 🏓 or pool games, which all allowed me to make great friendships. In general, I’m happy to say that this internship was a True-success!

Postscript: We were so thrilled with Cao An and his work product and ethic, that after his internship and graduation from Imperial, we offered him a permanent role with us. Delightedly, he said yes!

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Daniele | Machine learning intern

4th-year Computer Engineering, Politecnico di Torino

Before joining TrueLayer as an intern, I knew that I could learn a lot in the dynamic environment of a startup, finally being able to apply my academic knowledge in the real, messy world. However, I definitely didn’t expect this experience to enrich me as much as it did. From day one, I realised that the supportive, helping culture that I was breathing was not something that one should take for granted.

It takes deliberate effort to build an inclusive, stimulating environment that fosters innovation and risk-taking, and I could see that people here definitely did that work. Of course, nothing came easy. As an engineer, I knew that reality can hit you hard in the face after college; building products that people actually use (and enjoy using) was, for me, a whole new deal. It’s harder, and it takes longer. This new thought framework is probably the most valuable thing I’ve learned here, and I’m lucky I did.

In the beginning, my main worry was that as a newcomer and intern, I wouldn’t be able to do useful work for the company. Reality proved me wrong, as my team trusted me to actively contribute to the company’s core products. At the end of my internship, I had to go back to university to finish my studies but I will look back knowing that, in the short time I spent here, I was able to make a little difference.

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Cao An (second from right) with the Experience Design team and Daniele (middle) with the Machine Learning team

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Arianna | Data connectivity intern

2nd-year Computer Science, Lancaster University

As a 2nd-year Computer Science student, my internship at TrueLayer was my first real work experience ever — and I couldn’t have chosen a better place. TrueLayer finds the perfect balance ⚖️ between fun and freedom, and hard work and responsibility. Everyone here is extremely talented and is fully committed to bringing this company to success because they truly love it and believe in it. No one’s work is valued above or below others.

I learned so much about web development: it was challenging, but I had great mentors and co-workers to help me and support me through it and, in just 8 weeks I might just have learned more than I did in 2 years at university. Even though I was just an intern, I truly felt like I belonged here.

With less than 50 employees and having only been founded 3 years ago, the atmosphere is that of working at an extremely accomplished company. Every day there’s progress made and no one settles for anything less.

I believe this advice given to me by a co-worker truly sums up my feelings about my time at TrueLayer:

“You were lucky and unlucky to come here. Lucky because you’re having an amazing experience at an amazing company. Unlucky because this sets the bar incredibly high for any other place you might work at in the future.”

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Jimmy | Growth intern

MBA at Alliance Manchester Business School

A year ago, I moved to the UK to start my MBA and continue developing my career in financial services. Previously, I had worked for some years in the industry in my country, Peru, where there was a lot of talk about FinTechs and their impact. Having the opportunity to intern at TrueLayer, one of the fastest-growing FinTechs in the UK and being right in the middle of the Open Banking revolution, was the perfect opportunity to improve my learning about the subject, to apply my previous experience, and my current MBA learning.

At TrueLayer, I had the opportunity to work on two interesting and meaningful projects — supporting the sales strategy of the new Payments API, and proposing a customer journey map that allows TrueLayer to support customer success. I was also able to learn from the growth and direction of the company, the development of innovative products from scratch, and the diverse culture of the organisation.

The internship at TrueLayer was a great experience that not only allowed me to learn a lot but also to reflect on which skills I need to continue developing my career in the industry.

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Arianna (second from left) with the Connectivity team and Alison with Neil and Natisha at a recruiting event
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Alison | Business operations intern

MBA at the University of Cambridge

My internship at TrueLayer was in the Business Operations Team (BizOps). I applied for this role as summer work experience while earning my MBA at the University of Cambridge. Having previously worked at larger, more bureaucratic organisations, I was eager to experience a smaller, more agile, and innovative company. TrueLayer ticked all of these boxes!

A few highlights from a standout summer:

  1. Interview —My initial impression of TrueLayer during the interview process was very positive, especially the request to complete a ‘take-home’ task. It was a refreshing balance against the on-the-spot delivery of an interview. Shout out to Salim, who was my awesome Talent Acquisition contact!

  2. Onboarding — For a startup, especially one piloting an internship programme, I was anticipating the first few days to be haphazard. Nothing could be further from the truth! I arrived to a brand new computer, company swag, and a checklist covering/connecting to all things TrueLayer. I was also assigned an ‘onboarding buddy’ as well as various ‘lunch buddies’ 🥘 for my first week, alleviating that ‘new-kid-at-school’ feeling! Thank you to everyone who made me feel so welcomed!

  3. Project — My main project for the internship was to deliver analysis and develop a European go-to-market strategy for TrueLayer. This impactful assignment allowed me to significantly broaden my knowledge of the operating environment as well as engage and collaborate with multiple teams, such as Growth and Product. I must give a very big shout out to Gerisha, the BizOps hero, for her ongoing support and guidance and for everyone at the TrueLayer for valuing my efforts and trusting me to execute!

Echoing all of the above, I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to explore TrueLayer and the growth, learning, collaboration, and personal achievement that accompanied the internship. I am also very fortunate to join full-time as their first Sales Operations hire, helping spur on TrueLayer’s next chapter of bold financial innovation in the Open Banking economy.

We were amazed and grateful for the positive feedback our interns gave us. Talent Acquisition and People Ops put so much effort into trying to make this “experiment” work and we feel we succeeded! We created an environment where everyone had the chance to work on projects as if they were full-time TrueLayeristas, participating in the successes and challenges.

All our colleagues involved in the programme learned something, not just the interns! Their mentors got out of their comfort zone and faced this challenge for the first time. Management, onboarding, and participating in our quarterly goals wasn’t easy but it was definitely a learning experience.

We are looking forward to repeating and improving this programme so that it will no longer be an experiment, but instead, it will be our way of showing students how rewarding it is to work for a fast-paced startup like TrueLayer.

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