Age: 27
Nationality: Austrian

Kathrin followed the MSc Business Administration Master programme at the University of Amsterdam in 2016. ITEA set her up for a career as Country Manager Switzerland at Saleduck.

“Don’t shop for your career like you shop for your clothes. Don’t just go for the big fancy brands.”

When Kathrin came from Zurich to study in Amsterdam, she had no plans yet to stay and work here. She heard about ITEA via friends, then saw it in the email newsletter and registered for the event.

How did your career path go after attending ITEA?

Thomas from Saleduck had already contacted me via the ITEA app before the event and told me to stop by at the ITEA stand in the Meetups with Startups area. Before going to ITEA, I prepared a list of all ITEA activities and companies I wanted to see. I also looked Saleduck up online before the event to get some more information, and I went there just to hear more about Saleduck and the opportunity. I wanted to get some facts about this startup because I wanted to work for a startup that was already growing. I also met with two other companies who contacted me via the ITEA app beforehand, one of which was a growing startup as well. At the event, I was invited by these two startups to go into procedure. With Saleduck, I did a writing test one week after ITEA and had an interview the week after. Then I got an offer. Saleduck is a small company, so the decision was made very fast. Eventually I got a job offer from both startups and I decided to go with Saleduck because the position fit me better. I started working in June, two months after ITEA, while I was still finalising my thesis.

What is it like to work for a startup?

The difference is not as big as I expected because in large companies you work in small teams and a startup is a small team. The processes are faster, and the average age at Saleduck is lower. Here the average age is about 25 years, and there are a lot of interns who get a lot of responsibility. Also, how you talk with each other is different. It is more open and direct. In a large company, you can hide a little bit, but here everybody sees you and the value chain is shorter.

What would you advise students who want to work in a startup?

It depends on the field you want to work in. In general, it is important that you understand the business model of the startup well. Also, if you want to work in a tech startup, you need to understand the technology and how it will influence your daily work. In order to work in a startup environment, you have to be flexible because your role is more diverse and complete and not as narrow and dedicated as in a large multinational enterprise. 

What would you advise international students regarding their career orientation?

I advise students to not only look at famous companies but also take into serious consideration companies they never heard about, because they may have good opportunities there as well. Don’t shop for your career like you shop for your clothes. Don’t just go for the big fancy brands.

Also, I think girls should not be afraid to look into working in a tech company because it is a nice environment to work in. Also, there are a lot of positions in tech companies where in-depth tech knowledge is not necessary.

What would you advise international students who intend to visit ITEA?

Go to ITEA prepared, and do not be shy at the event. Use ITEA to network and check the companies online before you go. Also, bring your CV because companies ask for it. Students who really want to stay and work in Amsterdam prepare well for events because it helps them to build up a network, which Dutch students most of the time already have.