It was an interesting experience! Through an intensive shadowing program, we’ve had the chance to spend a week working alongside experienced professionals, and got a peek into the research, development and manufacturing of innovative electric vehicle batteries. How did it go? What did we think of the experience?
Hello! We’re Michal Krkoška and Artur Eliseev, and today we’d like to share some details about our summer career experience. Believe us, it was an interesting one! We’ve had the chance to intern at the Slovak company, InoBat, where we’ve participated in an intensive week-long shadowing program (part of the company’s BATTERYacademy project). We’ve spent some time working alongside experienced professionals, and taken a peek into the world of research, development and manufacturing of innovative electric vehicle batteries. What was our week like? Did the program meet our expectations, or was it the other way around? Read on and you’ll find out.
WHY DID WE APPLY TO THE SHADOWING PROGRAM?
MICHAL: I’m 19 years old and I’m studying computer science at the Delft University of Technology, in the Netherlands. I’ve been interested in technology, science, and languages since I was a child. Even though I’d only heard about InoBat a short while before our internship, the shadowing program immediately caught my attention, and I really liked the idea of a green Slovak start-up. I began googling all the necessary information about the company and I found out that InoBat is working on developing more efficient electric batteries, which intrigued me as a science enthusiast, and so I didn’t hesitate signing up.
ARTUR: I’m 27 years old and I’m studying international economic relations at the University of Economics in Bratislava. However, I come from Minsk in Belarus. There, I’ve worked for over 5 years in the field of international logistics, focusing on heavy trucks. Alongside school, I’ve worked as a part-time financial analyst. I’ve been following IT and electronics innovations for over 15 years, but I’m also interested in physics, economics, geopolitics, psychology and strategy games. That’s why I was intrigued by the BATTERYacademy’s shadowing program. During my week at InoBat, I’ve had the chance to observe the operations of a successful Slovak company, one that specialises in the industrial field and focuses on the production and recycling of innovative batteries.
OUR EXPECTATIONS WERE DIFFERENT. DID THE WEEK LIVE UP TO THEM? AND WHAT DID IT LOOK LIKE?
MICHAL: I have to admit, my initial expectations were not that high. I was hoping I’d have a chance to take a glimpse into the inner workings of a fast-growing startup, and listen to experts’ arguments as to why electromobility should become the future of the automotive industry. After completing the program, however, I can safely say that it exceeded my expectations and that the week was packed with new experiences! Right on the first day, Paľo Krkoš quickly familiarised us with the issues of electromobility, and, within a few hours, convinced us that the battery business is a really promising area. We spent the following days alongside big names such as Paul Hancock, Vadium Ustinov or Victoria Vernarecova. Other experts, like Oto Pisoň, introduced us to the complex processes that need to be run in growing companies, and we even got to take part in some executive meetings! Moreover, Simona Blašková, Matej Druska and Henrich Hajdin shared their insights into intercompany relationships, as well as their legal and financial knowledge. A cherry on top of our amazing week, Peter Dubovský gave us a tour of the future R&D centre in Voderady. This is the place where, in less than a year’s time, more than 150 highly qualified experts will be working on their battery research.
ARTUR: My initial expectations were more optimistic than Michal’s. I expected this experience to be beneficial to my career, and that it’d expand my knowledge of electromobility. Michal, however, described our week very aptly, and the shadowing program definitely met my expectations. I’d also like to add that we also had a chance to meet with department directors and C-level management, who told us about their interesting work challenges. The managers shared their experience, knowledge, and were happy to answer all our questions. It was amazing that we had the opportunity to informally chat with highly qualified experts during coffee and lunch breaks.
LIKE THEY SAY, EVERYTHING HAS ITS ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES. WHAT ABOUT OUR PROGRAM?
MICHAL: I liked the big variety of positions that we could peek into. We experienced a day in the shoes of people from many departments — PR, HR, finance, marketing, but also the executives. I was fascinated with the energy that permeated the whole company. I’ve never seen such a big number of talented people working in one place, constantly smiling and joking. This atmosphere remains a very positive memory for me, and an inspiration for my future career pursuits. And the disadvantages? The only fault was that the “overbooked” timetable made me crash into bed each evening, completely exhausted. InoBat truly delivered on their promises of providing an intensive shadowing program. 🙂 I would’ve maybe preferred for the program to last 2 weeks instead of one. Another small flaw was the occasional rescheduling of our activities, due to the busy schedules of our coaches.
ARTUR: It was very apparent that people at InoBat really enjoy working together and that they’re doing their best to make the BATTERYacademy program beneficial for students. We’ve even been given some important (perhaps even confidential) details about the company. The discussions about various crisis points that InoBat has gone through were very transparent, as were the talks about its strategy, challenges, and future. I agree with Michal that sometimes it felt like we were just flying through our busy schedule. Overall, though, I have great memories from my time here. It was very nice to feel, even if only for a moment, like I was a part of the friendly, productive and positive environment at InoBat.
OUR VIEWS OF ELECTROMOBILITY HAVE CHANGED, WE’VE BEEN GIVEN CONVINCING ARGUMENTS
MICHAL: Thanks to my week at InoBat, my view of electromobility has changed by 180 degrees — because we’ve been given strong arguments about the low efficiency of combustion engine vehicles, and the increasing capacity of batteries. It managed to convince me that traditional cars will soon become the dinosaurs of the automotive industry.
ARTUR: I realised that the development of electric batteries plays a key role in sustainability and our “greener future”.
WE’VE GAINED A LOT FROM THE PROGRAM. WHAT’S BEEN THE MOST VALUABLE?
MICHAL: For me, the most valuable takeaway from this week at Inobat is that, even in Slovakia, it’s possible to start a company that can compete in the global market. I’ve seen firsthand that many are mistaken when they believe that good working conditions can only be found abroad. InoBat proves that this is not the case, and the company has already managed to lure many top quality experts to Slovakia.
ARTUR: For me, it was very valuable to see how business processes and development strategies are being created, in a fast-growing Slovak company; how highly qualified experts interact and collaborate with each other; how the individual departments function, but also how the whole company is coordinated. I’ve learned a lot about this market, and about the production and technologies of modern batteries.
STUDENTS, WE HAVE A MESSAGE FOR YOU! BE ACTIVE AND YOU’LL BE SUCCESSFUL, EVEN IN SLOVAKIA
MICHAL: The internship was an invaluable career experience. Thanks to the friendly team and the well planned program, it only took us, as interns, 5 days to fully sink into the atmosphere of an innovative technological startup. The week was very enriching and I’d recommend this internship to all enterprising young people. My message for the students who are reading this? Participate in as many extracurriculars as possible — sports, social events, competitions. This experience at InoBat, for example, helped strengthen my convictions about the future direction of my career. It’s also shown me that it’s worthwhile to look for jobs in Slovakia.
ARTUR: I definitely recommend this internship to younger students. It’s a unique, amazing opportunity. My message for the readers? If you decide to take part in InoBat’s shadowing program, make sure you get enough sleep in advance, because the schedule is really packed! Look at the timetable in advance, highlight all the most interesting parts, and set out your expectations right from the beginning.
WE’RE ROOTING FOR YOU!