Madrid skyline with the sun setting in the background

International Internship Experiences: Madrid

International studies and career development are two core pillars that define the Heavener School of Business experience. Through internships abroad, many of our undergraduate business students have impactful, unique and real-world experiences while developing their career and global acumen at the same time.

In fact, 121 Heavener School of Business students are doing just that as they complete internships abroad this summer. Of the 52 students in London, 35 in Dublin, 25 in Beijing, 6 in Madrid and 3 in Paris, we asked nine of them to reflect on how their month-long internships abroad have made an impact on their lives. Read more from three of them, Jacob Hehn, Victoria Arguelles and Nikolas Nazario, about their time in Madrid below.

JacobHehn Jacob Hehn – KADOM Gestión Financiera   

¡Hola! My name is Jacob Hehn, and I am a finance major at the UF Heavener School of Business. I will begin my third year in the fall. While I started out as a general studies major, I switched to finance in my freshman year to improve my critical thinking and analytical skills.

I am completing my internship with KADOM Gestión Financiera, a financial services outsourcing firm located in a suburb of Madrid. We handle financial operations for smaller businesses so that they can focus on their core operations. To that end, we tailor our services to the needs of each client, and they can range from creating financial statements, distributing paystubs and even M&A advising. My internship will last a little under six weeks, ending on August 10.

My role consists mainly of ad hoc work. I have one ongoing project – developing the new company website and translating its content from Spanish to English. Each day, I have been completing basic accounting and reconciliation tasks as needed. Yesterday I reviewed clients’ financial statements dating back to 2015 to confirm how much a delinquent customer owed them. The day before that, I wrote checks and recorded the payments using the company’s SAP software.

The course Introduction to Financial Accounting has been helpful when I’ve been asked to look over clients’ financial statements and general ledgers because that class taught me they always have to follow a specific format. I’ve also applied what I’ve learned in Principles of Marketing while tweaking the website, trying to understand our target audience and tailoring the new site to potential clients.

This internship has helped me develop a more professional mindset towards work. I worked part-time throughout my first two years at UF, but it always took a backseat to my classes. Here, work is my first priority, and I am more accountable for my performance than I have ever been before. International work experience also sets me apart (because how many people choose to work full-time in a foreign country?), and I have improved my communication skills and gained exposure to Spanish business culture.

Victoria Arguelles Victoria Arguelles – Mateo&co.

My name is Victoria Arguelles, and I am an incoming third year public relations major. I decided on public relations as my major after attending UF’s College of Journalism and Communications Summer Institute. As my college career advanced, I considered study abroad opportunities and knew that I wanted to be in Madrid, later learning that I would not only have the opportunity to study there through the UF Heavener School of Business, but work there as well. As a native Spanish speaker, this seemed like the ideal opportunity.

I am completing an internship with Mateo&co, Spain’s leading strategic consulting firm for branding, marketing, and communications specializing in food and gastronomy. As part of my internship, I fill in wherever necessary, whether it’s with the communications, event management, or creative department. My responsibilities are quite diverse, ranging from translating press from Spanish to English, to contacting international journalists and bloggers about upcoming gastronomical events.

One of my favorite projects that I’ve worked on thus far has been to visit one of Mateo&co’s biggest clients (and one of Madrid’s top tourist destinations), el Mercado de San Miguel, an urban dining market in the heart of Madrid, to take pictures for their social media accounts. I was given free rein to assemble food and drinks as I pleased to create appealing content for social media that’s viewed worldwide.

This internship has taught me more about my Spanish language skills than anything else. Really immersing myself in a fully Spanish work environment threw me for a spin at first, but it’s shown me that I’ve chosen the right career path for my life, and that I’m capable of doing it in multiple languages if I wanted to.

Nikolas Nazario Nikolas Nazario – RoleAdvisor

My name is Nikolas Nazario, and I am a sophomore finance major at the Heavener School of Business. I chose to pursue a major in finance because finance is a very fast-paced industry with an important role in the functioning of our society. This industry has shown to be one of the most competitive and presents many challenges which I am ready to take on.

Completing an internship in Madrid seemed exciting to me because Madrid is a place that I am considering working at in the future. This opportunity to complete an internship abroad allowed me to see if it was truly something I wanted to do as well as learn about the business culture of a different country.

I am completing my internship at RoleAdvisor, a job placement startup firm, where I’ve worked on the company’s marketing plan and social media channels. One of my marketing projects was the creation of a blog, which was a new experience for me as I’ve not had any previous experience in this area. Nonetheless, it taught me a new skill that I believe will be helpful in the future. On top of this, I aided in the creation of a client database. The database was created for a product that is launching in September, so it was crucial to the organization moving forward. This project is something that I am very proud of because it took a lot of effort and patience. Collecting and compiling the necessary information was much more challenging than expected. This project also carried a great deal of importance and to be able to play a part in this company’s success meant a lot to me.

I’ve learned so much already from this internship, especially how to handle problems from a different perspective. Working in a startup where everyone is responsible for every aspect of the business gave me the opportunity to broaden my knowledge base. The collaboration of everyone in the organization showed the importance of teamwork in making an organization successful. I also learned how to deal with deadlines in the environment of a small company, as with a startup it is vital to complete things quickly yet maintain a high-quality of work.

Realizing the importance of collaboration and teamwork is something that I believe will help me not only in Heavener but also in my future career. The company I worked for had a total of 6 employees, so each person’s contributions were valuable. With so few people, it was very important to foster a positive work environment as everybody needs to be able to work together. Aside from the internship, living abroad in another country has given me a new perspective on life. I had to adapt to a totally new environment which was difficult at first but by the end of the trip, Madrid had become my second home.

We also asked Heavener School of Business students completing internships in London, Dublin and Beijing to reflect on their experiences. Read more from Addison Burley, Hunter Williams and Ian Milaski about their time in London and Dublin, and from Ana Rocha, Mark Edwards and Trey Fritz about their time in Beijing.