Spotlight Userlane: Wilma Mikschl, Strategy & Operations
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The perks of joining a software start-up
Our latest Spotlight Userlane features Wilma Mikschl, who joined Userlane as an intern and has transitioned to manage strategy and business operations. Wilma shares her thoughts on why the start-up environment is so exciting to work in, and how working in software gives you the freedom to be your authentic self.
Watch the interview here…
Or read on to hear what Wilma had to say…
I joined Userlane as an intern back in 2018, at a time when I thought that if I was to do another internship in banking, then I would end up staying there my whole career. So I was looking for something new and looking to challenge myself. I wanted to explore beyond Switzerland, and new industries.
I studied business innovation, which has a technical component to it, so I thought a software company would be a great fit. In the three months I spent at Userlane as an intern, I fell in love with the company and the city of Munich. We were just 20 people back then and had a classic start-up energy – we were cooking together, we had bean bag chairs. But on top of that, the mentality was very hands-on. This is why after my internship I was so amazed with Userlane, I decided to continue as a working student in Munich throughout my masters. Userlane openness gave me the flexibility to do so.
Through this time I could see the company evolving and it allowed me to grow with it. I initially wanted to travel between finishing my studies and starting work full-time, however I was offered the opportunity to help with a fundraising round at Userlane and I couldn’t turn down the opportunity as it sounded like a fantastic project to work on so early in my career.
Since then, every day has been a new challenge and a new opportunity. I have since taken over some of the core business processes operationally and we are now extending the team further.
Why start-up environments are so exciting
For me, one of the most amazing things is that you can see the company grow, and you can grow with it. This is a big advantage over what a corporate company can offer you, as it doesn’t offer the same growth opportunities.
You can appropriate some of the company growth for your own career. You feel like you are part of the company and that can really energize you.
Another factor I think start-ups environments are so exciting is the responsibility that you get and the higher profile topics you can work on, and with that comes more accountability. You have to own your impact, which means people actually care about what they do, and are encouraged to deliver.
There is also room to inject your personality and ideas into projects – if you want to do something and the company isn’t that big, you pitch it and you get to do it, and then you can bring your own personality into the creation of it. I personally am able to see the everyday processes I have worked on improving the jobs of those around me, and that gives me a lot of joy.
Finally, I would highlight the learning curve you get at a start-up. Over the past few years, I have learnt an incredible amount because of my involvement with so many company wide topics, and all of the challenges we have faced as a business. This level of learning and exposure is something that is not offered with larger corporations and I really appreciate it.
Software is the new now
To me, software is currently at the pulse of time. Being a young person, this is really important as it opens you up to new innovations and innovative ways of thinking from early on in your career. The sector also attracts more money and growth, which brings a lot of exciting opportunities to work on.
I think you can apply what you learn in a software company to other future roles, as technology is present in every company and software will be a core business element in the future.
The other side to it, is how there is more flexibility. Software can all be managed online and remotely, and this means I can work whenever I want, wherever I want and with whomever I want. That gives me a lot of freedom to be who I am and do what I want to do, something very important to me.
At Userlane we have people from all over the world, from different backgrounds in different time zones. We all come together at a company where we find our perfect working mode, but share the same company culture. It is exciting to be innovative in this sense.