Slimmer AI
October 22, 2021
8 min read

Slimmer Stories: MBA Associates

Welcoming MBA talent to enable diverse thinking and continuous learning

Part of our People philosophy at Slimmer AI is to encourage a growth mindset and continuously learn from one another. One way we encourage this is to bring in a steady stream of new talent, and the MBA internship is a key pillar of this strategy.

Every three months new interns join us in the venture building and marketing teams. We love having MBA interns in our team because it is mutually beneficial — we learn from their unique point of view(s) and they are able to experience first-hand venture building and the Dutch tech scene.

We recently asked three of our former MBA interns about why they chose Slimmer AI and what they gained from the experience. The below is a synopsis of what they had to say about their relatively short time with us.

Charlotte Paauwe, Senior Partnership Manager, RatePay

Charlotte Paauwe, Senior Partner Manager, RatePay

Charlotte (IE Business School, 2021) joined us in early 2021 to work in the venture team under the leadership of Giuseppe Lacerenza.

Over the course of Charlotte’s 3-month internship she worked on several projects which consisted of building business cases and exploring how AI could optimise processes in several sectors (e.g., HR/Recruiting, Property Management).

What are the key takeaways from your internship?

I supported the team with the commercial research of different product ideas. I was responsible for the market research (e.g., competitive landscape, customer needs, willingness to pay).

For example, one of the tasks was validating a prototype product with potential future users. I was involved in the lifecycle of building a new tech product until the actual decision making of building an MVP.

The most exciting part was pitching the end results to the board and hearing their considerations in proceeding (investing) with the product or not.

How did your intern experience help you to get where you are now?

Slimmer AI positively confirmed my perception of working in a start-up or scale up environment and in the fast-moving tech industry. Another positive contribution from this internship is the effect it had on my network in this industry which definitely contributed in finding the right job after my MBA. After graduating, I started as a partnership manager at RatePay, a fast growing fintech in Berlin.

“The internship was the perfect opportunity to explore the tech scale/start-up world and see how tech products can be developed from scratch in a venture lab environment.”

What was your favourite part about working at Slimmer AI?

A lot of positive vibes and fun atmosphere. Slimmer AI is an international team with people from different backgrounds — kind of an international MBA in the real world. Everyone helped each other and there was room for creativity and pitching your own ideas. The best ideas came out of a team gathering over pizza and beers!

Sebastian Ordoñez, Business Designer & Innovation Consultant, Fjord (part of Accenture Interactive)

Sebastian Ordoñez, Business Designer & Innovation Consultant

Sebastian (ESADE, 2021) is based in Barcelona and was one of our first interns to work remotely in 2020.

Why did you choose Slimmer AI for your MBA internship?

Artificial Intelligence is changing the world. Many say that it is the equivalent of the Internet, and even though we have not reached general AI, it is clear that ML and DL solutions are already changing the way we live and interact as humans. As a society. I wanted to explore this world from the inside.

After my conversations with the team (Peppe, JP, and JC), I chose Slimmer AI, for 3 main reasons: the challenge, the team, the industry.

  1. The challenge because it was a blank space to create anything from zero. The idea of living a whole business design process was exciting and demanding, even more when the process was under my control. Even though many could find this arduous and tricky, for me, it was an opportunity to explore, learn, and create.
  2. The team because ever since the early conversations in the interviewing process, the team was super helpful and supportive. And I knew I was going to be able to learn, and that I would have a voice to be heard. I remember my first interview, my flatmates were in the living room listening to it. I was very nervous at the beginning, but once I got to meet Giuseppe, it was like having just a random conversation with a friend. This is the kind of people you want to work with. We spend half of the life we are awake at work, so let’s find companies with a great culture, that care about their employees, and that have a purpose aligned with our personal goals.
  3. The industry because, as I mentioned before, AI is disrupting the world despite the long way to reach more intelligent systems. Slimmer AI being a venture studio and an AI expert was a great channel for me to learn. This was going to be a unique opportunity to work with such talented people from an industry that I would say hires more ML engineers than MBAs (for obvious reasons 😉).

Along my answers, I will keep mentioning learning. That’s my main driver for deciding my next steps. Learning is what keeps us advancing as a society.

What was the scope of your internship at Slimmer AI?

The structure of the company was a bit different at the time of my internship. I was focused on researching, discovering, and developing concepts that Slimmer AI could further develop to launch new businesses or products.

I focused my efforts on finding opportunities in the financial services industries. I got to explore ideas and concepts within Insurance claims and fraud, commercial and trade financing, and pricing reporting. Furthermore, I was able to interview managers and experts of the industries to validate the needs and test the concepts using prototypes like wireframes and sale sheets.

What are the key takeaways from your internship?

I want to highlight the human element of design and innovation. At some point, I was exploring business opportunities in the commercial financial services space. We found needs in the SME lending spaces and trade finance. We tend to forget that just in Europe, there are more than 25 million SMEs that generate 100 million employments in the region. So, we were thinking, how might we help this companies to access finance solutions? How might we leverage alternative data and AI to ease the financing processes? We were not just building a new product/company, we were building a solution that could impact thousands of business owners and employees to launch and grow their businesses.

I already had experience working at a venture studio, Polymath Ventures. It focuses on building innovative solutions for the middle class in Latin America. The scope is rather different, but this kind of company gives you the option to learn and create. At Slimmer AI, I had the opportunity to explore business opportunities from a completely different perspective. I was able to learn and understand what can we do with AI today, and what we expect in the future. To consider the challenges and requisites finding good quality data sources to build models. And to gain awareness that AI is not the solution to all the problems in the world. All this knowledge will help me further in my career when considering the usage of AI as a way to innovate. Moreover, it even inspired me to complete my data skills, and this year I was part of Data Science For All, a data analytics training program.

Furthermore, it was a great complement to my MBA. I was able to learn from leaders and specialists in the area about the real impact AI is having in business, and the thought process we need to have when designing AI products and businesses.

How did your experience at Slimmer AI help you to get where you are now?

Some years ago I got to know about the concept of Grit, a personality trait of finding passion and perseverance to achieve our goals, and why not, to be happy. And one fundamental concept associated to Grit is that we need to keep exploring along our lives to find these challenges and goals where we can reach and exploit our Grit.

The experience at Slimmer AI was another point on this life discovery process. I think it helped me to realise/confirm how I wanted to focus my career on innovation, and mostly, innovation focused on solving human needs. Currently, I am working at an innovation and design consulting firm.

What was your favourite part about working at Slimmer AI?

I would say getting to meet the culture and how you work. I still remember one simple activity we had in the weekly company huddles. We were able to spontaneously say thank you to a colleague for any support that the person provided along the week. It was beautiful seeing people celebrating together.

Being in Barcelona, 1,200 km far away from Amsterdam, and being the first collaborator outside the Netherlands, I struggled during my first days working from home and getting to know a whole new team. Still, since day one I always felt part of the team, the support culture is always present. I’m particularly grateful with Chenise, who joined not so long before I jumped in, and helped me to feel comfortable in the process of starting at a new company. I would have loved to get to meet more of the people from a personal side, but, you know, remote work is not so gentle to allow these connections.

Alessandro Amaro, MBA Candidate, INSEAD

Alessandro Amaro, MBA Candidate, INSEAD

Alessandro (INSEAD, 2021) is our most recent intern and worked with Giuseppe and Virginio in the venture building team in mid 2021.

Why did you choose Slimmer AI for your MBA internship?

I chose Slimmer AI for several reasons. One, I was interested in the mix of venture building and venture funding. Second, it was clear that Slimmer AI had strong expertise in AI and I wanted more exposure to that. Lastly, the team is exceptional and I knew I’d learn a lot from them.

What was the scope of your internship at Slimmer AI?

I was in the venture team and I worked on a number of areas including: identifying investment opportunities in fintech start-ups, performing due diligence on upcoming deals, strategic and operational support to portfolio companies, and definition of investment processes and frameworks

What was a key takeaway from your internship?

I gained exposure to venture building and venture capital, plus invaluable lessons on how to build a venture and how to scale successfully.

What was your favourite part about working at Slimmer AI?

The people are amazing! And the feeling of responsibility and of being listened to was definitely a plus for me.

If you’re interested in becoming an MBA intern, or want to work with us in a full-time capacity, check out our job openings located here:

At Slimmer AI, we are building applied AI B2B ventures to improve people’s work. We believe that AI can and should be a ‘force for good,’ which can not only empower people to do their best work but also create greater job satisfaction and achieve far better business outcomes.