Hey, I'm Alex.
I’m going to tell you a bit about myself, which is a bit weird because tomorrow is my last day at Zero Impact as my two month internship is coming to a close. It’s crazy when people ask you if you could have foreseen where you are now. Well if you had asked me four months ago, I would never have known. Life is funny like that.
Ever since last summer, I had envisioned myself working in New York City, interning for a semi-interesting company in their operations or strategy department. I’d be in the city with my friends, and most other rising seniors.
I was born and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada, but moved to Washington, DC to attend the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University. I study International Business, Finance and French, and I am going into my final year of college.
I have been working for Zero Impact since late June. My experiences in Melbourne and at Zero Impact have been amazing, not just for traveling around Australia, but also for my discovery of this startup world.
At most undergrad business schools in the US, most students look to banking and consulting to start their careers, and it can be hard to filter it out.
Like many of my fellow students, I was overwhelmed, and having the world as my oyster left me disillusioned, passionless, and lost. Sometimes I wished that there was a distinct path to go down- a path that was already made for me. I can do competitive applications, I can study up for interviews, but I didn’t have my heart behind them at all. Last fall during an investment banking interview, I was grilled by two interviewers on my accounting knowledge. They asked me why I would want to be an investment banker, a question that I will always sort of internally laugh at. It seemed as though they didn’t really see me as a person, but as another application in the intensely competitive process. I knew I didn’t want the job.
That’s fine. I don’t like banking. So what do I like? Meanwhile friends were talking about the hectic recruiting process, and I felt as though I was doing something wrong. Was I just not as ambitious as I thought? Why were so many other people willing to put up with it? Truly just the money? Not many people talked too highly of their analyst internships, yet they coveted those return offers. I didn’t get it.
You know how opportunities come when you least expect it? And the minute you start planning your life things get turned upside down? I felt that exact sentiment this summer. Traveling to Melbourne ended up being exactly what I needed. I didn’t know what to expect, and honestly picked Melbourne on a whim. I hadn’t been to Australia, so Melbourne sounded fine, even though I really didn’t know much about it.
I was introduced to different startups and attended events to get a taste of the startup culture in Melbourne. I met amazing people who are excited about what they are doing. They were refreshingly approachable and seemed like normal people I’d like to be around. At Zero Impact, I’ve really been able to take a hold of what I wanted to get out of my time here.
Being part of a new company is exciting, challenging, and so rewarding. Max, the founder of Zero Impact, and I have been doing everything from creating coffee log recipes in the kitchen to making financial models. I was accountable for my work, and could see the real effects it had. Max allowed me to pick areas of the company that interested me, so I would always be excited about the work I was doing.
Zero Impact appealed to me because there were a lot of parts to the company: the actual log manufacturing, the sustainability aspect, the coffee ground waste retrieval and more. It wasn’t just an app or lines of code. There was a tangible product that we could see, all while diverting waste from a landfill. Being part of a company that actively seeks to better some aspect of society has been quite fulfilling.
Aside from the obvious personal career growth that came with experiencing startup culture in Australia, it was nice to see that the world really was my oyster. It’s so easy to become entrenched in one mindset no matter how much you try to fight it. It’s easy to forget what’s out there.
Basically, working for Zero Impact has helped me develop professionally, but also personally. Instead of going into my last year of Georgetown completely freaked out by job hunting, I’m more excited (albeit still a little scared). I’m now considering Australia as a place to live and work after college. It’s made me want to seriously start looking into cultivating what I love to do.
So, “what’s happening now?” you may ask. Well, Zero Impact is at a really exciting point. Two weeks ago we tested our first ever product in a pizza oven to see if 1) the coffee logs affected the taste and 2) if they would even burn. I’m happy to report that the coffee does not affect the taste and they did, in fact, burn! This has been a culmination of nearly two months of work for me, and nearly eight months for Max. We’re now focusing on perfecting the product so it’s both cost effective and efficient, and are looking to go to market very soon.
All this in just two months! It’s quite exciting. I look forward to keeping up with Zero Impact and how Max is doing. I’ll be rooting for it, and who knows- I may be back one day. The world is changing, and we are becoming more aware of the negative effects of waste. I’m excited to see Zero Impact blaze a trail in the space and change the world one coffee at a time.