California Native Launches International Tech Career Through The Intern Group

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Zach Giarrizzo was offered a position with Socialatom PR, the public relations side of the Socialatom Group, after his international internships.

“I never thought of living in Colombia, I never thought I’d work in the tech sector, and I never thought I would be a manager at the age of 24,” said Zack Giarrizzo, Regional Human Resources and Recruitment Manager at Virtuagym, a Dutch start-up company in the health and fitness sector.

“Over the past 2 years, all of this has been true,” Giarrizzo says.

After studying Spanish and Global and Regional Studies with an emphasis in Latin America at Saint Mary’s College of California, Giarrizzo was on the hunt for a job.

“Like so many recent grads these days, I had a terrible time finding a job. I had two bachelor’s degrees and I couldn’t even get an interview. I couldn’t get a decent job, so I started looking for internships, but I didn’t want to stay home for an unpaid job when there was an entire world full of opportunities.”

So then Giarrizzo started Googling internships in Latin America and stumbled upon The Intern Group´s program.

“Naturally the first thing I checked was if they had anything in Latin America, and that’s when I stumbled on Medellin.”

Giarrizzo knew little about Colombia beyond the stereotypes - coffee, Shakira and its dark past.

“I was expecting to see Buenos Aires, Santiago de Chile, Rio de Janeiro, Mexico City etc. That being said, I kept an open mind and decided to apply for an internship and see what I could get.”

Through The Intern Group he landed an internship at the seed capital firm Socialatom Ventures. He was immediately immersed in a completely new world of venture capital, business and technology start-ups. He was shocked by impressive resumes of the people he was introduced to on day one.

“On my first day I was introduced to Erik Stettler (Harvard MBA, Director at Socialatom Ventures, and former Senior Analyst on Wall Street), Jessica Mercedes (Managing Director at PulsoSocial and Coderise and former Marketing Account Executive for brands like Pepsi and Corona in the Dominican Republic), Daniela Toro (former Portfolio Manager at Socialatom Ventures and current Community Manager at WeWork Mexico City) and Andres Barreto (Founder of Socialatom Group, Coderise, PulsoSocial, Onswipe, and Grooveshark).”

Despite having no prior experience, at Socialatom Giarrizzo was asked to work on projects in recruitment, public relations, investment analysis, graphic design, data science, software development, sales and marketing.

“I knew this was the perfect internship for me and it was something I never would have considered without The Intern Group,” said Giarrizzo. “I wish I could have done that internship forever. There was not one day where I wasn’t excited to wake up in the morning to go to work and there wasn’t even one hour where I didn’t learn something new.”

After his internship ended, Socialatom asked Giarrizzo to stay on. He was offered a position with Socialatom PR, the public relations side of the Socialatom Group. He worked in Medellin and Bogota as an Account Executive doing PR campaigns and events for their investment portfolio companies and other firms like Cacoo, Primestone, and Google.

He has since moved on to his current role as the Regional Human Resources and Recruitment Manager at Virtuagym.

“Whenever I speak with someone from back home, I tell them I’m a Human Resources Manager and they are always impressed, but when I tell them I’m doing it in Colombia is when they are really amazed.”

Giarrizzo says he attributes his international career to his internship abroad.

“Before this internship, not only did I not know what I wanted to do, I didn’t know what I was capable of doing. I told myself I wasn’t good at math, learning to code was too difficult, I wasn’t artistic enough to be a graphic designer, I would never be an entrepreneur, and more, but all of that changed when my mentors at Socialatom not only showed me, but proved to me that with the right people pushing me, anything could be achieved.”

The Intern Group (TIG) is an award-winning provider of internship-abroad programs in London, New York, Madrid, Berlin, Dublin, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Melbourne, and Colombia. Internship programs are offered year-round to students and graduates of all ages, in all career fields and majors.

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Lexie Kadlec
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