Internship

Joud Almutaz | Marketing to Operations | Internship Experience

A journey of self discovery, empowerment and growth.

I went into this journey knowing that it will give me hands-on experience. However, little did I know that it will give me much more than that. Starting from applying to a marketing internship to being the first full-time employee in the operations department. I ended up handling 1,000s of individuals in the community throughout all stages within Sabbar’s platform!

First of all, hey 👋, I’m Joud and I appreciate you reading my post. To give you some background about myself, I’ve just graduated from KSU with a Bachelor in Marketing. I’ve completed an internship as a product executive with one of the world’s largest petrochemicals manufacturers (SABIC).

Marketing was my set career path, but as we all know, you never know where your passion can take you. I’ve applied to Sabbar’s Marketing Internship and was introduced to the idea of operations during my interview. While it is important for me to pursue a career in my academic background, I chose not to restrict myself in one specific area. I kept an open mind and decided to take this opportunity! 

You’re not just an “Intern” 🤓

A couple of weeks into my internship, the Covid-19 pandemic started and there was a full lockdown in the country. I feared that I’d lose this internship given that the majority of my peers have lost their jobs. My concern was completely gone after seeing how supportive and transparent everyone in Sabbar is and how I’m considered a crucial member in the team. This is the moment where I felt that I was treated as an employee and not just an intern.

School of Life ✏️

Being employee #1 gave me exposure on how to build the department from the ground up. Ahmed Abuazza, the Operations Director, joined shortly to amplify the efforts of establishing the department! I’ve worked side by side with him to build what soon-to-be the process for managing thousands of giggers. Giggers are on-demand gig workers that we connect with companies in the retail and F&B industries.

The guidance of Ahmed taught me a lot about my skill sets and has given me confidence in my own abilities. During the early stages, we were constrained by resources and I’ve been involved to look after lots of areas of the operations. I learned several different strategies and got a very complete picture of what operation is in a startup. 

Throughout the whole journey, I felt that my opinions were heard and my ideas were implemented, thereby giving me responsibilities that made real impact.

I’m personally very proud and grateful to be led by Ahmad. Every hour spent on brainstorming, building strategies, problem-solving, and tackling a lot of challenges was worth thousands spent on online courses and years of experience that was given to me for the purpose of personal development and growth. 

I can never thank him enough for showing me how a great leader leads.

And now I’d like to share a couple of stops that impacted me throughout the internship:

The power of Growth 💪 

At one point of time during the lockdown, we started working with Nana to enhance its driver recruitment project. The startup faced tremendous demand during the lockdown which required them to ramp up their hiring efforts for drivers and pickers. 

Working on this project allowed me to see how operations work in a larger startup. It also helped me realize how important it is during the growth phase to focus on process improvement and optimizations in order to have the capacity to keep up with the increasing demand. Our contribution helped in recruiting 18,000 drivers in under 2 months! This project prepared me for the upcoming period and lit a fire in me to aim higher into scaling Sabbar to reach its ultimate success as a startup. 🔥

Reimagining the Future of Work 🚀

This phase allowed us to build the future of the gig economy. In the supply generation function we had to run efficiently. Therefore, we built our own set of tools that allowed us to scale. I’ve been responsible for the entire process from designing the registration funnel and all the way through giggers’ on-boarding journey.

I’ve proudly conducted more than 25 workshop sessions and on-boarded up to 3000 Giggers in both Riyadh and Jeddah! 🎉Designing the journey from the moment the gigger gets introduced to the platform to the moment they book their first shift broadened my perspective and allowed me to have a growth mindset that focuses on scalability. It made me realize how onboarding could improve retention and have an impact all the way to reducing customer service tickets! 

The Joy in Community 🧡

One of the dearest initiatives that I got to work on is how to implement the safety protocol around Covid-19. I worked on distributing safety boxes and creating safety guidelines for our giggers during their shifts. It was challenging especially due to having hundreds of giggers working in multiple locations across the city. There was nothing better than collaborating with other departments and even in alignment with our partners. This allowed me to build a project management skill set and deal with the challenge of logistics in real-time delivery. 

This initiative helped in generating user content from our giggers on Twitter resulting in one of the highest engaged tweets!! It made me realize that a strong and engaged online community will produce better results on every front and give us the opportunity to learn and innovate.

Started from the bottom now we’re here 👀

When I first joined Sabbar I was making decisions based on my gut feeling, and my moto was “احس لا”. However, I’ve  been constantly challenged with where the source of data is! This helped me focus on honing my Excel skills and learning pivot tables. 

As a marketer, these were known as very daunting tasks. However, I’ve noticed that being data-driven is not limited to the engineering department but it impacts every single function within the company to measure the impact before and after the initiatives. Today, I hold the torch of data-driven decisions only analyzing every story data is telling me and turning it into business insight. 

The art of Hustling 🕺

This function is definitely exciting, thrilling and most importantly insightful. If you’ve reached this point, I think you know how much I love to hustle! Working in demand fulfilment has definitely raised the bar for me in how much a person can learn in a single day! 

In demand fulfillment, I got the opportunity to explore two roles at the same time! The first role was account management which focused on building a relationship with our partners and coordinating daily requests. The second role was fulfilment officer, or in other words, a firefighter. 🔥 The role focuses on fulfilling partner requests, monitoring attendance using our back office system & handling all emergency cases in the fastest and most efficient way possible. 

This function gave me the exposure I needed into: tech, business development, marketing, and gave me a 360 holistic view on the company’s core business. 

key learnings

  • If your goal is to grow and have a very busy lifestyle, join a startup! Working at a startup gives you the opportunity to get experience in multiple areas and it will also open doors that you would never expect, seeing the results of your feedback on a product that you helped in improving instills the value of ownership and gives you pride in your work. 💪
  • The most wonderful part in working in a startup is that you’ll have to wear multiple hats, and this is exactly what I did during my internship. I had the chance to work in different projects and across the department functions. 🤠
  • Be agile and dynamic. Have the ability to handle change, and by change, I mean drastic change. For example, at some point in one month, I had 3 different managers which is a symptom of high growth that helped me a lot in being adaptable to any unexpected change.
  • Have a growth mindset and always make sure your solutions are efficient. I learned that small change makes a huge impact. For example, we changed the content in one of our messages which resulted in reducing our customer care tickets by 40% and increased our conversion rate! 📈
  • As cheesy as it sounds 🧀, in order to learn successfully you must fail and it’s okay to make mistakes and learn from them. Actually, it’s better to do it earlier to create solutions that will give you an advantage in preventing it from happening on a bigger scale later on! 

I have come to a realization that working in a place you love with inspiring leaders is life changing. I am truly blessed to have gained the company’s trust by being offered a full time position as an Operation Officer. It makes me extremely proud to have gained this wonderful opportunity and to be surrounded by people who I don’t consider to be my colleagues but are truly family.

Today when I hang out with my friends and they ask me what an operation officer in a startup does? I realized it’s a role that demands multiple skills like problem solving, critical thinking, managing people, recruitment, partnerships, profitability and so much more!

That’s all for now I gotta go back to my work helping hundreds of giggers going to work everyday 🚀!