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As Opal hit the mark of ten employees, Kenneth Schlenker, Opal's founder and CEO, created a special internship position: the Founder Associate. Founder Associates are exceptional juniors who can help him explore different topics, own decisions, and go the extra mile. Within gap-year or end-of-studies internships, Founder Associates join Opal for ~6+ months with the purpose of learning and delivering impactful projects. Learn more in this article about the job of Opal's fourth Founder Associate, Greta Brablec, and how she contributed to the growth of the company. Since then Greta has returned to Brown University and will be a Quantitative Investment Strategies team intern at Goldman Sachs in New York City next summer!
1. Hello Greta, what is your background and how did you get into the intern position at Opal?
Hi! I’m a rising junior at Brown University, where I study Applied Math and Econ and also take courses in Computer Science. I first learned about Opal when I began my summer internship search. Because this was going to be my first professional experience, I knew that I wanted to work in the startup space to get the most out of it—working on a small team and delivering big results sounded exciting.
It was the perfect intersection of tech and business, and the idea of digital wellbeing was interesting to me
After speaking with Joanna Tasmin, a previous Founder Associate (and fellow student at Brown!), about her experience working at Opal, I decided to apply. It was the perfect intersection of tech and business, and the idea of digital wellbeing was interesting to me, especially as a college student who spends a large portion of my time on screens, and not necessarily by choice. After going through the application process, I joined the team to work on the data side of product and growth but have since leveraged my quantitative background to help support and lead a variety of projects, like writing SEO articles, which can be found here.
2. Do you have a typical day? How do you organize your day?
I spent the first half of my summer in Paris (which was awesome, by the way!) and the rest at home. Both in Paris and at home, I got into a groove of working the standard 8 hours, starting around 8 am—I find that I’m most productive in the morning, so I like to get up early and tackle my heaviest tasks then. I also like to switch up where I’m working from: co-working spaces around Paris, friends’ apartments on the East Coast, or my dining room table at home in the Chicagoland area.
It was great to be able to take ownership of my projects and make decisions for myself.
Because most team members are located in Paris, I was able to work more synchronously and even in person! This was especially helpful at the beginning of my internship—it was great to be able to tap someone on the shoulder whenever I had a question or an idea. When I went back home, I was working largely on my own, which was awesome in a different way—it was great to be able to take ownership of my projects and make decisions for myself.
3. How would you describe your job at Opal?
I would describe my job at Opal as exciting. On my first day, I was given my first project, which would eventually contribute to important decisions on the growth side. From the beginning, it was always “let’s see if you can figure this out” rather than “let me show you how it’s done.” Despite the initial learning curve, the latter was more fun—it felt like I was in school again, using my problem-solving skills and resources to succeed!
At Opal, I was never bored—there was always so much to learn and do
Also, working at a startup is very fast-paced, so my projects (including my first one) would often change direction, meaning that I had to be flexible and adapt to different processes in order to find solutions. At Opal, I was never bored—there was always so much to learn and do. I, along with everyone else, was always working on several different things at once, always thinking about what might come next.
A few examples of the projects I worked on:
- Built and improved reporting capabilities for web and mobile marketing performance and revenue
- Monthly Report for Investors
- Built reporting capabilities for Google Analytics and Google Search Console
- SEO: competitor and keyword analysis. Authored and published these blog articles.
4. What are the biggest lessons you learned?
Being at Opal taught me many lessons that are directly applicable to working at other startups, or even larger companies. My biggest lesson, however, is to never get too comfortable with what you’re currently working on.
I can’t wait to use what I’ve learned in my future professional endeavors
Throughout my internship, I needed to redefine the scope of my work multiple times as circumstances changed. This meant that I needed to be resilient and versatile, moving to projects that weren’t necessarily in my area of expertise, like content creation. However, there was nothing better to do but learn, adapt, and excel (and still find ways to leverage my existing skills for new projects!).
Overall, working at a startup like Opal was an incredibly unique experience, and I can’t wait to use what I’ve learned in my future professional endeavors.
5. Now a question for Kenneth: why did you create this position? What does it bring to the company?
Kenneth: I witnessed the role in other companies (at Revolut or Alan for instance), and I found it super interesting to have super smart young people given the opportunity to learn really fast. That is proof that a student with potential can do lots of things and have a tremendous impact on a company.
We now have had the chance of having 4 Founder Associates join us (Joanna, Malak, Ramy and Greta), and the program has been a great success in that we were able to build so much, and teach valuable skills to associates who went on to do incredible things.
Want to join us?
If you enjoyed this blog post, cannot wait for your next challenge and feel like Opal should be your next adventure:
We cannot wait to hear from you!