Inside a Fintech Start Up
Get to your job on time. 9am sharp. Leave work at 6pm. Those are standard office hours. That is the impression I had about the demanding and stressful working environment in Hong Kong. I travelled from Bristol back to Hong Kong in anticipation of a summer filled with standard internships at law firms. Little did I know, I would find myself immersed in a dynamic environment, in the form of a fintech startup.
During the summer of 2017, I undertook a three-week internship at FinFabrik. I stumbled upon this internship opportunity by chance. People have told me that LinkedIn is a platform for professionals to connect and network, but it is also a place where they have been offered internships and vacation schemes before. I never really believed that. Until the day FinFabrik reached out to me via LinkedIn.
Lacking prior exposure to the fintech industry, I didn’t know what to expect at the interview. So I did research on FinFabrik and read fintech news in preparation for the interview. It turned out to be different from what I expected; it was more of a casual chat where I got to know more about FinFabrik and vice versa.
A few days later, I was informed that I got the internship. With the impression I had about Hong Kong’s demanding and stressful working environment looming over me, I asked the obvious question: “what time do I need to be in the office and what time do I go home?” I was caught off guard when it became apparent that there were no standard office hours. No 9am sharp. No leaving work at 6pm.
At FinFabrik I was given a plethora of flexibility, which made the internship a unique experience for me. The team firmly believes that as long as the work you deliver is of high quality, then it doesn’t matter how many hours you spend in the office. This is the first of many lessons that I have learnt through this internship.
The quality of your work is not dictated by the length of time you spend on it.
Appreciation and growth. Those are two things that I have taken home with me after this internship. These three weeks have aided me in growing as a person in multiple aspects. At FinFabrik, interns are treated as equals, rather than the bottom of the hierarchy; all our work is appreciated and valued. It is particularly rewarding to witness the impact our work has on the company. The team has a lot of trust in all interns and encourages us to push ourselves beyond the knowledge we have gained at university.
Don’t underestimate yourself. Your abilities are not defined by the level of knowledge you acquired at university.
Not only was I able to apply legal knowledge from my LLB degree, there were also ample opportunities for me to expose myself to areas of Law that are beyond my scope of studies. For instance, I was able to draw upon the theories of Contract Law to draft an agreement for the company. I even ventured into Intellectual Property Law — an area that I have never explored.
The tightly knit team spirit and supportive attitude are both paramount features of FinFabrik.
The atmosphere at FinFabrik is a stark contrast with the traditionally uptight and tense offices that have colonised Hong Kong. Flexibility is something to be celebrated and valued, especially in a place like Hong Kong. If you want a taste of working at a place that doesn’t fit in as a stereotypical office job, then FinFabrik is the place to try out. The internship has undoubtedly managed to tilt the impression I had about the demanding and stressful working environment of Hong Kong.
From the charcoal-biscuit-obsessed-CEO, to the super-stylish-COO, to the young UX designer, the FinFabrik team consists some of the most impressive, driven and determined individuals I have ever encountered. Thank you FinFabrik for these memorable three weeks.
Written by Chloe Deng. A second-year Law student.