06 Sep Alumni Success Story - Benjamin Zeffertt
We were delighted to interview Benjamin Zeffertt, an Absolute Internship Alumnus who was part of the Lisbon Internship Program this past summer. Enjoy Benjy's perspective into life before, during and after an Absolute Internship. A huge thanks to Benjy for his time!
Could you please introduce yourself?
Sure! My name is Benjamin Zeffertt, I'm from London but I'm currently based in beautiful Lisbon, Portugal. I work for Man Win Win as a Sales and Marketing Assistant - a Software as a Service company.
When and where did you take part in your Absolute Internship?
I had my internship this past summer in Lisbon, Portugal. I was one of the first students to be able to experience this program and I stayed for almost 2 months.
What were the most valuable things that you learned during your experience?
I had a great professional experience.
"I was partly responsible for investing company money into different projects, I had to make sure it was well spent and had a positive outcome, there was a real element of professional responsibility."
Other employees were counting on me to complete important tasks, even though I was an intern. I learned all about the software and the industry, so getting those skills were very valuable. I was also assessing documents for clients and partners that the Portuguese company would use in English, and they relied on me for them to be perfect..
What do you remember most fondly about your time in Lisbon?
I loved going out in the evenings, whether it was with the whole Absolute Tribe or just with a few of us. Every one of us was in the same boat - we all wanted to have a good time after work and enjoy our time exploring a new city. Now that I'm back in Lisbon, the friends that I made during the internship are no longer here so I miss them a lot.
What advice would you give to someone considering pursuing an internship abroad?
I would say expect to feel slightly uncomfortable at first, you need to put yourself out there and make the effort to meet people. You’re bound to have the same conversation over and over again, but after that, you’ll feel so much better.
"Just stay positive. Go out and take part in all the activities and make the most of
your time there. Don’t be a recluse!"
What happened after you finished your internship?
Three days before I left my internship, I got called into my boss's office where they told me they were extremely happy with my performance and were considering offering me a full-time job at Man Win Win. Nothing was decided but the option was there, and they wanted to see if I would be interested. The next day, after my positive response, my supervisor approached me with a job offer. Very overwhelming but exciting!
I came back home to the UK as planned, talked to my parents and friends about it and finally went on a well-deserved holiday, I had enough time to think about the decision of moving abroad again. A couple of days later, I found myself packing and preparing to move countries and start a new adventure!
What had you originally wanted to do when you graduated?
I wasn’t too sure about what I wanted to do. I did know I didn’t want to go into politics (which was my degree). I knew I wanted to go for Marketing, or something creative and I didn't want to stay in rainy London!
How did your internship help you achieve your goals?
I had an internship in Marketing to explore the field and now I have a job in Marketing, which is what I wanted. It made me realize that this may be the career I want to pursue. Absolute was the bridge, it was a direct link to my current job!
How did the experience change you?
The 2-month internship gave me tons of confidence to work abroad, and not just in any city, but in a country where I didn't speak Portuguese whatsoever or know nothing about its culture. I managed to learn a bit of the language and get around it. I'm a much more confident guy now.
What did you get out of the program?
Most importantly, friends. I was the only European in my program, and we got along so well that 3 Americans and I are already planning our first reunion in Hong Kong with some guys from the program.
"I got that sense of "it’s okay to be out of my comfort zone", now is the time to make mistakes and learn what you like and dislike."
It was a very integrated course to the Portuguese culture. The Absolute Program helped me to make the most out of my time abroad as an international student.