“We need to encourage more women to get into the tech world. My boss, an example and role model, is the only woman in Norway working in Legaltech.”
Maria Paula is currently in her fourth year of the Bachelor in Psychology at IE University and started the program at the Segovia campus. Maria Paula is from Colombia but lived in Costa Rica for most of her life. She is currently doing an internship at Lawbotics, a legal tech startup, and is very interested in organizational psychology and leadership.
What are your hobbies/interests?
I’m passionate about getting involved in projects, leadership, and motivating others to reach their goals. I really admire Adam Grant, an organizational psychologist and author of The Originals (one of my favorite books), and Arianna Huffington, due to her focus on wellbeing as a tool to thrive in the workplace.
Why did you choose IEU?
I chose IEU for its international atmosphere, knowing this would allow me to learn a lot from others and obtain a broader worldview.
What do you want to do after graduation?
I want to do a master in leadership and organizational psychology, and continue working to learn from practical experience. In the future, I would like to found a company, probably related to leadership, or work in a consulting firm trying to solve people’s problems in organizations. In any case, I want to become an expert in leadership and organizational psychology and work in this area.
About her experience at IEU
What’s the most valuable aspect of IEU for you?
Diversity. It is very important to listen to the opinion and knowledge of others, since we now live in a globalized world, where there’s so much technology that makes everything more accessible and it is important to have a 360º view of the world.
What is the most valuable thing you have learned from a professor about your future career path?
In a class with Neringa Kalpokaite, I learned how to identify the key areas for improvement in a company based on interviews and other key issues related to human resource management.
Are you a member of any clubs at IEU? If so, which ones?
Yes! I was part of the initial group that started Leap Conferences, a series of conferences with renowned speakers, with the purpose of inspiring students and motivating them to set and reach their goals.
About her professional experience
Are you currently involved in an internship? Please tell us about it.
I’ve been working at a startup called Lawbotics in Norway for the past month. It’s a legal tech startup and I’m currently working in the human resources area, although we prefer to call it “People Operations” (like they do in Google), in order to take away the tension when talking about people, as it includes much more than just hiring.
Lawbotics was founded by Merete Nygaard, my boss and current CEO, who was a lawyer in a very well-known law firm in Norway. She realized she wanted to create something on her own, as she observed some issues with lawyers and their time management, which is a very important factor for a lawyer. Through her experiences, she decided she wanted to make their workflow much more efficient.
Our product is a technical tool; the company is more focused on technology than legal issues because we don’t produce legal content. Simply put, we are trying to make lawyers’ lives easier and their work more efficient. We are trying to streamline the work of lawyers for to make it much more cost effective, by creating a tool to generate dynamic templates. It’s a computer application that allows users to work in the cloud. Currently, the company is small; there are just five people working full-time, including developers, lawyers, lean and UX experts, and five working part-time.
What have you learned?
I have learned a lot about lean innovation, a very useful methodology based on an iterative process of improvement. One of the basic principles of lean innovation is that one should not build a product if they aren’t sure it solves a problem. I have learned a lot related to building a product, which I didn’t know much about before. I’ve also learned a lot about what is needed, the importance of being close to your future customers, and the incredible competitive advantages that come from this. Everyday, we work very closely with lawyers, and we look to recruit “early adopters” to work here. I have learned a lot about business, even though my background is in psychology, and the importance of a having a team committed to a common vision. In addition, the internship has prepared me for my future as an entrepreneur.
How has IEU prepared you for the challenges involved in this internship?
I participated in the IE Design thinking lab and it taught me a lot about innovative methodologies, prototyping, brainstorming, and understanding the user from a customer-centric perspective. I feel that the things I learned in that lab were things I could apply in a very pragmatic way with employees and customers.
I think we need to encourage people to work in different fields, because the merging of people from different fields has a lot of potential. We’re currently planning a legal hackathon that will bring together students from different fields, such as law and tech, to interact and build solutions.