Alumni Voices: My Virtual Internship with Solidblock

The following is a collection of blogs written by Virtual Internships alumni for their internships with Solidblock, based in Israel. The interns were tasked with producing a write-up of their internship experiences, projects and tasks, and skills learned from working in a startup within the finance, real estate, and blockchain industries. These stories give an excellent glimpse into the “day in the life” of a virtual intern!

The Virtual Workspace (Campbell Snaith)

a portrait of Campbell Snaith

As the world currently grapples with the arduous circumstances of COVID-19, life has changed drastically for everyone since the beginning of 2020 – international flights have come to a standstill, and face-to-face interactions have been minimalized globally. You might be wondering how I – a commerce student at The University of Adelaide in Australia – have spent the past months working as a marketing intern at SolidBlock, based in Israel. SolidBlock’s understanding of the globalized workspace has allowed me to work on marketing projects within their team, from the comfort of my house in Australia. 

During my internship I have gained an array of valuable experiences in my desired field of marketing –  I have been involved in content and report writing, market research, influencer interactions, working on social media channels, and email funnel creation. I cannot exaggerate the importance of relevant real-world experience to enhance the learning undertaken in my degree. Not only has this experience been great to develop marketing skills in a real-world context, but it has also served as a valuable chance to gain an understanding of the virtual workspace – an idea that has become increasingly prominent through a turbulent 2020. 

From the beginning of the experience, there were obvious barriers for us to overcome, such as the inability to participate in the physical workspace and the significantly different time zones. However, with constant communication through various messaging channels, it has been easy to be in contact with the team daily. Online workspaces such as Google G Suite and instant messenger applications Slack and WhatsApp have been instrumental in optimizing communication and sharing completed tasks with the team. 

Overall, the experience has been extremely valuable for my learning so far. Being able to transfer theories and concepts learned in classes into a real-life workplace has given a new depth of understanding for the practical applications of the learning. I know it’s a cliché, but you cannot underestimate the power of having experience in the field to supplement the degree you study. Through my internship, I have been involved in countless new learning experiences that I could only gain through workplace interactions. 

If I can give a word of advice to any other students looking for an internship, my suggestion is to absolutely go for it! Through my virtual internship at SolidBlock, I have gained industry knowledge and learned how to function in a virtual workspace. The world may never be the same after COVID-19 – virtual work has become the norm for the foreseeable future, so why not embrace it? Please do not let lockdown and borders block your chances from gaining the workplace experience you want. Embrace the change and use those extra hours wisely while you can! 

My Virtual Internship Journey (Janki Dave)

a portrait of Janki Dave

As a current postgraduate Finance student, the term Blockchain is something that I’d come across a few times. It was a concept that lecturers shied away from, and to be honest I’d only read about it a few times to understand what cryptocurrency was. 

Now imagine my astonishment when I heard of SolidBlock, a company that deals with tokenization and issuance of digital securities. My mind was reeling… tokens!!!… real estate!!!… digital securities backed by real estate!!!… As far as real estate was concerned, I only knew of direct and indirect (REITS) investments. I knew nothing of digital-age financial instruments. I know what you’re thinking, “…you’re a Finance student, how do you not know of tokenization and digital backed securities…”. But as Michel Legrand says  “…the more I live, the more I learn. The more I learn, the more I realize the less I know,” and this is how my journey began.

I was lost in this new world of digitalized products and tokenization, but what intrigued me was how this instrument would transform the real estate industry, and the opportunities that would come along with it:

  • It provides investors with liquidity because of its tradable feature
  • It allows cross border investments
  • It has lower minimum investment requirements relative to REITS

I was then assigned two tasks; to conduct market analysis for family vacation resorts in Italy and writing up a business plan for a new company formed through a partnership in London, where digital securities would be issued for single-family properties. The more I worked on the tasks assigned to me the more I learned about tokenization. Also having grown up in a developing country, I started wondering about whether such a concept would work in my country, because dare I say, many of the concepts that work in the developed world, do not work in developing countries. This is due to the differences in the environment, i.e. the political, economic, socio-cultural, legal and technological, etc. environments being different. But I guess we all have that inherent need to want our country to develop and prosper. 

As I pondered this thought I came across an article written by the CMO, “How tokenized real estate builds diversity, supports minority businesses and neighborhoods”, this was a game-changer for me. Being part of a company that’s not only seeking to cater to the wealthy investors but also trying to solve a problem faced by minority groups or less privileged groups, through digital age financial instruments is awe-inspiring. It also gives me hope, because if the concept of community investment works for the minority groups, I know that the concept would eventually work for a developing nation.

Through my virtual internship journey, I’ve also had the privilege to work for a team of strong women who’ve been nothing but encouraging every step of the way. Even when a task like engaging groups on LinkedIn seemed daunting, they were patient, ready to help, understanding, reassuring, and always positive. Also, in a world where a number of industries are male-dominated, it is inspiring to see the impact that this team of women is having in the real estate industry. 

Interested in pursuing your own virtual finance internship for 2021? Check out our opportunities today!

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