#hepsterhero stories
Trainee in a start-up? Yes, definitely.
Here you'll get into my personal story as a trainee at hepster. You'll learn all about my challenges, growing responsibilities and contrasts to "traditional" insurance companies. Perfect for you if you are thinking about starting a traineeship in a start-up.
Published 26 Jan 2023
Nils Rothenpieler

Nils Rothenpieler | Trainee for Specialists in Insurance and Finance

Moin! (How we say hello here in the very north of Germany). I'm Nils, and I've been in a traineeship to become an insurance and finance specialist at hepster for over a year now. I would like to tell you what it means to me to be one of the first trainees in a start-up and thus set the basis for my future career. How I ended up at hepster, which challenges I master together with hepster and much more you will find here in my personal blog.

You'd rather watch my story as a video? This is the way to go.

Let's start. How did I end up at hepster.

Many young people know it all too well: after school, I didn't know exactly what direction I wanted to take. However, I already had two ideas:

  1. Firstly, I knew that a traineeship was more suitable for me than going to college.
  2. And secondly, I attach great importance to a good and relaxed atmosphere within a team. That was something I realized quite early in a part-time job during school.

So far so good, but it still left a lot of room to worry one's brain about the right career choice after graduating from high school. Then I heard of hepster for the first time. Quite simply through a job ad that made me curious as soon as I read through it. The job description and the casual style of writing really matched my expectations. So I applied and was invited directly to the hepster office.

Once there, my feeling that I had was immediately confirmed. It was the conversation in the office hallway just before the main interview. A small group of employees formed in front of the conference room and they talked to me as if I had been part of the team for a long time. The interview was then the icing on the cake and my answer to the question if I wanted to be part of the hepster team was: yes, definitely!

Du kennst hepster auch nicht? Dann schau doch mal auf ihrer Karriere-Seite vorbei und verschaff' dir einen ersten Eindruck.

The start of my training - did I have any concerns?

I had absolutely no concerns about hepster as a start-up and my future team. However, there was one point I wasn't quite sure about at the beginning: the learning content of the vocational school and the exams are very much focused on classic and rather "traditional" and larger insurance companies or agencies. hepster, however, wants to break with this tradition and make insurance simple. This also means that the product range of hepster is different from other companies. So I asked myself: can I keep up? And will I be well prepared for the exams at the end?

I quickly realized: that's no problem. The content of the vocational school is clearly organized that I will definitely be well prepared for the written exam. Only for the oral exam I have to prepare myself a little differently than my classmates, since I don't have regular customer contact in my daily working routine, as it is often usual in a "traditional" insurance agency.

But hepster has a solution for that as well: hepster cooperates with another insurance agency where I get insights into their daily work and customer meetings, just like in an internship. This also gives me the opportunity to gain experience in this area of the training and thus also a good feeling for the oral exam.

How do classmates or teachers react to my training at hepster?

That is actually a question I've been asked more than once, which is probably why it's also interesting for you. My classmates didn't know hepster. Of course, we are still a quite young company. My teachers knew that hepster existed, what industry we belong to, and that something makes us different from "traditional" insurance companies. But they didn't know what it is exactly. Until now.

So what you need to get ready for is some clarifying conversations. Your classmates and teachers will ask some questions because they want to understand how hepster works and what your daily work routine is like. Simply because it's new and different and they are totally interested. But that's what makes it exciting, isn't it?

How exactly does my training differ from training in "traditional" insurance companies?

I can surely tell a lot of the traineeship in a start-up, but I can also well imagine what the biggest differences are compared to "traditional" companies or agencies. Let's jump right in:

 

A traineeship in a "traditional" insurance company:

For "traditional" companies, which have usually existed for a longer time, having trainees is nothing new. They have a lot of experience and holding seminars and trainee events, for example, so that they can be introduced to new topics or receive further training together and in a structured manner. Exchanging ideas with other trainees is precisely what makes these events attractive.

On the one hand, there are usually established structures that can be used as a guide during the traineeship. On the other hand, the main disadvantage for me is that these structures can be quite inflexible, which means that there is only limited room for your own ideas or suggestions for optimization.

Long story short: In my opinion, it can be a little easier to master tasks in a "traditional" insurance company, since everything is handed to you. However, this can also limit individual development opportunities, which I personally value much more than a structured 9-to-5 job.

A traineeship in a start-up:

One thing first: seminars or other trainee events are probably rather rare in start-ups, because there are usually only a few trainees or only one. Until a few months ago, I was the only trainee in my department at hepster. That didn't bother me at all, because you have a great team around you, you just have to keep that in mind. There is one more advantage to be the only trainee: the company can fully focus on you.

I can recommend a traineeship in a start-up for anyone who doesn't have a problem with the fact that there are no fixed structures or that these can change from time to time. This may make it a little more difficult to get started at some points, but it also gives you the opportunity to try out your own solutions and put yourself to the test.

Another important point is that you are dependent on getting help on your own initiative. This creates self-confidence and trust in one's own abilities. This in turn leads to tasks with increasing responsibility being assigned to you step by step, making you the first point of contact for your colleagues. However, the increasing responsibility does not mean that your status of a trainee is going to be ignored. Of course, you are still a trainee and enjoy the necessary protection.

Long story short: The tasks in a start-up can be tough at times, but the trust of your colleagues and your confidence in yourself grows very fast. After a short time, you will feel like a real team member and iIf you're prepared to take on new and sometimes unexpected things, you'll have tremendous development opportunities here.

As one says, you learn faster (and maybe more) when you jump in at the deep end.

And after my traineeship?

Would I like to stay with hepster? Absolutely! I settled in well after only a short time and feel totally at ease. This feeling is something that is most important to me personally. Moreover I'm so excited to see what the future has in store for me and hepster, because in the meantime, I've already been involved in a few projects that I am eager to see develop further. What would be a good example? How about this: A little side note at the end:

"Nils? Did you actually take French at school? No? We need your help anyway!"

With this sentence I started into one of my most challenging tasks so far. My second foreign language at school was not French, but Latin. Nevertheless, I was given the task of helping with a market analysis for bicycle insurance in France. This market analysis was to be the basis for the bicycle insurance product that hepster would launch in France.

It was surprising for me that after 3-4 months traineeship I was trusted to lay the foundation for this important project. In retrospect, I'm proud and sometimes still smile when I think about how I tried to work my way through the French insurance ABC step by step. I didn't even know how to pronounce the words. Looking back, I am proud to be able to say that part of this projectwas the result of my own working.

It's best to get to know us here first and then take a look at our vacancies to get an idea of where your journey could take you.

Sounds good?

It's best to get to know us first and then take a look at our vacancies to get an idea of where your journey could take you.

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