Hi, there! Got curious about the title, did you? Let’s see if I can clarify it a bit. 

In this article, I will try to use my own experience as part of the LGBTQIAPN+ community (maaan, is it me or does this acronym keep on getting bigger?!) and my not-so-clever humor, to let you in on a little secret. Hiding who we truly are behind what is apparently a more comfortable experience of life and avoiding the conflict is, besides a tremendous lack of respect towards ourselves, a way to perpetuate prejudice. Don’t know if you are aware of that, but I surely wasn’t for quite some time… 

While this is my own process it can be a common experience. This is meant to be an honest sharing, hopefully, useful not just for the mentioned community but for everyone who reads it since this is about self-awareness and self-knowledge. 

Filipa Pestana – Product Designer

Where to start 

When you are born, you are this immense whiteboard, full of possibilities. Eventually, you will start getting some drafts and paints, reflecting your context and the mainstream society you belong to, as expected. As a child, one of my most vivid memories is the passion and enthusiasm I felt watching Disney movies. It was so delightful how every story ended up just right, as long as the princess found her prince charming. For a major part of my existence up until that point, this was all I needed to believe in: as long as I’m the princess, my one goal should be to find my prince and live happily ever after. 

As I grew older, my purpose became more and more obvious. Led by the hand of the family’s matriarchy, I learned that to attract the utopic prince I would need to know how to sew, how to cook, and how to iron his precious suit. It made sense, I mean, the guy is out there fighting dragons, and riding horses… his shirt and pants are doomed to failure unless his graceful princess takes care of it. And of course, me being the obedient little angel a good girl should be, I accepted my fate without questioning it and topped it off with the joyful ignorance only children can endure – lucky little bastards. 

I made it my life’s goal to be a nice, sweet, obedient princess so that I could win over the heart of my perfect prince. Seemed easy enough. But somehow, no matter how hard I tried to fulfill others and my expectations at that time, something just seemed off. 

The thing is, the more you grow and allow yourself to open your mind to live outside your little dome, the more you start to be aware of other realities and possibilities. During college, my once-perfect board, carefully drawn and painted inside the lines, could now gain the most vibrant colors and splashes of sparkles! This led me to question what before seemed so obvious and trustworthy since this was coming from my first leaders in life – my family members (and, let’s face it, Disney). But more important, at this time, instead of only pointing the finger at others’ beliefs – that I had so willingly taken as my own – I started questioning myself and my existence. I wasn’t sure about how I felt about boys and if they were actually all that charming. I was very confused about what gender identity and sexual preferences translated to (which led to a drastic haircut and some questionable fashion choices – but let’s not elaborate on that. All proof has been deleted, in case you are wondering). Above all, I was very lost in the whole concept of being myself and what that meant… Of course, in such a tormented moment I turned to those I trusted the most my whole life. They for sure would be able to help me untie this knot in my soul. But their own experience of the world – and this topic in particular – only allowed them to do the best they knew. To fill me up with a fear of the world and the beliefs of others, in such a matter that I and my aching soul were not able to dig ourselves out of that whole of constant self-judgment and inadequacy for a long time. 

The art of misconception 

Knowing that soon enough I would have to face the professional world, full of people and their own beliefs, ideologies, and questionable truths, there was only one possible thing to do: practice the art of misconception. A vague answer here, an inconclusive act there, and I would easily dodge the bullet of actually being myself. I was quite feminine and bubbly, I would indulge in some innocent flirting, or make some very heterosexual comment (to note: comments don’t actually have sexual preferences, this is only for dramatic effect, ok?) and for some time I kept up the facade. 

In all the offices I set foot in I was what people would expect from a heterosexual woman and I obliged with all the stereotypes that even I believed to have to live by. I would feel this inexplicable need to look like my feminine peers around the office: hair and makeup on the flick, excruciating noticeable heels, uncomfortably trendy clothes,… Going deeper into any personal conversations my official statement was that I had a boyfriend, we were happy and that should suffice when it comes to you knowing anything about my romantic life. 

The suffocating need to meet these imagined expectations got me so blinded, that in the presence of my male superiors, I would shoot myself in the foot and gladly shut up in the light of any arguments they would so eloquently spread upon my far less superior mind. Unknowingly I kept perpetuating the objectification of womanhood and spreading the gender norm misinformation. Not that my male colleagues – and some female colleagues, to be honest – needed any help with that.  

Being oneself would simply have to wait, given the urgency I felt to fit in all these little boxes – the ones where everyone fits others to make sense of the world. It took me a while before I felt like a character at my workplace and faced the fact that I was extremely unhappy living that way. After all, as I would discover later in life, all these boxes are nothing but invented concepts from the still-evolving minds of one’s species. But I would eventually find out there is only so much you can take when you are tricking yourself.  

In this game of misconception, it’s relevant to point out the importance of the companion you have on your side, if you have one. Yes, I’m talking about that “other half”. I wanted to be loved, just like anyone else, independent of gender or sexual preferences. Let me tell you that when your significant other is quite comfortable living in this facade, deliberately avoiding any complications derived from actually living a truthful life, and mastering the art of misconception, it becomes easier for you to keep feeding the fear and depression inside you. And yes, you got it right, that’s a red flag. But can one really identify a big-flashy-pompous red flag when one is simply trying to survive their misplaced fears and find love? 

Unpleasant (but necessary) awareness 

When I joined, I was still deeply buried in confusion. Thick darkness would fall over me after a long day of pretending. I would look in the mirror, face washed out, drowned in my tears, completely oblivious to the cause of my pain. Living a double life can be quite exhausting. You need to carefully curate the content of the life you want to project on all fronts. You need to prepare your speech when inquired about your “other half” during lunchtime gossip – because God forbid you could suffice for yourself. And there’s, of course, the continuous perfecting of the always popular excuse for distant relatives that had known no boyfriend of yours (tip: always point the finger at your career and long working hours. That’s always a big hit).  

Somehow, something started to feel different around this new group of people called MB.ioneers. These were people led not by their irreproachable truths, nor fed by their insecurities, but they thrived in this unconventionally heterogeneous environment, full of potential and risks. They actively looked for failure so they could iterate, try again, and evolve in the process. And they did it all with welcoming open arms to difference – in points of view, in experiences, in nationalities, in religions… – disarming any trail of conformed thinking. I wanted so badly to be a part of this new plot and leave my character in the past where it belonged.


The immense power of choice 

The good news is that you can break this cycle at any time, because none of it depends on your lover, on the overly male chauvinist company you work for, or the family that raised you. 

Facing the risk of sounding too much like one of those self-help books on the shelf of a convenience store, your well-being and psychological safety depend on you. You have more control over your own life than you care to imagine. Of course, it would be great to have the advantage of being super well received as you are, wherever you go. Of course, it would be amazing to not have to deal with homophobic comments because everyone is engaging in the motto “live and let live”. It can’t hurt to have the right work environment or the support of your loved ones. Sometimes even professional help is needed (therapy is not just for crazy people in case you didn’t know).  

YOU are the one controlling your actions when that great-great-great-aunt asks you for the millionth time about that non-existent boyfriend of yours. You are in control of your narrative when a colleague makes a gay joke – which is an insult in a very cheap disguise, by the way. You are in charge of being your own person whoever you choose to be. Remember yourself and others that you are more than your gender, your age, your religion, or your sexual preferences. You are all that and so much more that makes you unique. That is so worth fighting for, even when you need to fight against your own discouraging beliefs. You can’t control the actions and minds of others, but you can choose to act differently when facing injustice and prejudice. 

It will hurt, it will be hard to manage and at times can have bigger consequences than what you anticipated, but that’s also part of the change. In you, and others. 

Picture by James A. Molnar

This article has been written by Filipa Pestana

Unleashing Potential – The Upside of being a Working-Student At

Moritz Bleckert – Communications Intern

Only a select few students in Berlin will ever have the comfort of limiting their daily life to their degree only. As a student juggling the demands of academia and simply growing up, I embarked on my journey as a working student at I had the great pleasure of studying Media- and Business Psychology, being fully aware of the Damocles-Sword* hanging over my head at all times. At least that’s what I thought. Knowing about stress hormones (adrenaline & cortisol f.e.**) and the somatic damage they can induce, sadly doesn’t protect you from them. Being a psychologist has the interesting side effect of being aware of your own mental health, while also assuming that you would be less affected by it than others (Third-Person Effect***). Consequently, choosing the right place to work was incredibly important to me.

A Well-Rounded Experience

The notion of work-life balance often seems unattainable for many students, at least in my personal bubble. However, provided me with the tools and support to strike a harmonious equilibrium between my studies and work commitments. Emphasizing the importance of effective time management early on, enabled me to successfully navigate a demanding schedule of 20 hours of work alongside 25 hours of university commitments each week. The flexibility in scheduling allowed me to accommodate last-minute changes in my academic timetable without any complications. This level of adaptability proved to be especially valuable during exam periods, as I could just adjust my workload accordingly or during semester breaks, where I could upgrade to 40 hours of work each week.

Exploring Different Roles and Skills

One aspect that truly stood out during my stay at was the diverse range of responsibilities I was entrusted with. As part of a product team, I was enabled to change between CX and Comms topics easily. Covering experience in support, automatization and data management as well as marketing conception. Realization of marketing measures included production, copywriting, analysis, and campaign management – just to name a few. The multifaceted nature of my assignments nurtured my growth as a professional and allowed me to develop a versatile skill set that spans multiple domains. Psychology is inherently something, that isn’t palpable. Having the opportunity to work with data and statistics gave me a lovely transition from theory to praxis.

A Culture of Learning and Flourishing seems to have understood something, many companies advocate for, but don’t actually act on: An environment, where personal growth and professional development are paramount is an environment, where talent tends to reside. The culture thrives on the active participation of its employees in events, initiatives, and activities. By immersing myself in this vibrant community, I not only expanded my network but also gained invaluable insights from colleagues with diverse backgrounds and perspectives. Collaborating with individuals from various roles and departments broadened my understanding of the business landscape and taught me the importance of effective teamwork and communication.


Being a working student at was a transformative experience that allowed me to balance the demands of my studies while gaining practical, hands-on experience in a dynamic organization. The company’s emphasis on work-life balance, the diverse range of responsibilities, and the culture of learning and growth created an environment that nurtured my personal and professional development. If you’re seeking a place where you can not only learn and flourish but also make a lasting impact, I encourage you to explore the opportunities available here.

* An allusion to the imminent and ever-present peril
** American Psychological Association Definition of Stress Hormones
*** American Psychological Association Definition of Third Person Effect


We sat down with people who are or used to be interns and working students at to ask them for advice to professionals who just started their career.


“Never be afraid to speak up. It does not matter if you’re an intern or the CEO, your opinion and your ideas are valuable. This does not mean you should always barge in with the first thing that comes to your mind but rather that everyone will appreciate a well-thought-through comment that adds value to a discussion.”

Dennis Bauer – Strategy Business Consultant

“The best advice I can give revolves around two keywords: Curiosity and Creativity. Maintain an unwavering sense of curiosity and ask about what you don’t know yet. That will save you so much time! Also, cultivate your creative flow. I find that there are a lot of opportunities to embrace as we have the space for new visions to be shared and validated. So, go for it!”

Vera Pereira – Communications Intern

“Don’t be afraid to talk with people and make new friends. I always have lunch with my colleagues and stay for a “Feierabendbier” to hear the best stories and get the real insights.”

Valentin Knapp – Digital Practice Intern

Unsplash picture by Annie Spratt



Alissa is a care-taker. Someone who loves to unite people and tries to stay positive – no matter how chaotic the situation is. Her way of organizing, aligning, and planning serves as a powerful skill for her work and personal life. In this article, you will read about how she uses leave benefits to spend more time with her family and how she navigates through work life while being a mother of two during and after the pandemic. 

After graduating in business administration in Munich, her first career steps started at different digital agencies that build products like websites or apps for clients. In her role as a traditional Project Manager, she was in charge of clarifying the scope, staffing different teams for various projects, and being the main responsible person if anything was unclear or went wrong. 

“Sometimes I was just a firefighter because if a project is not going well, I must jump in. It can be really challenging because when you start working with a new company or team, you don’t know the people and you immediately have to adjust. But this was actually also the point I liked most about the job.”

Alissa is a people person. Someone who gets along easily with new people from various backgrounds and areas. Something that can be rooted in her bubbly and open personality. 


After freelancing for seven years, and already having one foot in the tech industry, she decided to take the next step and prepared herself for becoming a scrum master. 

“Doing a Scrum Master certificate only takes two days of learning and training, but you don’t really have the experience of doing it. The role brings various challenges for different teams. So, there’s not a real blueprint for it.”

In 2018, she started working at in Berlin and she quickly realized that contrary to a Project Manager, she sometimes needs to give people more space and enable them to work by themselves – rather than intervening and taking over tasks too early. 

During her first year as a Scrum Master, Alissa got pregnant with her second child. As she was already a mother, she was aware of the upcoming challenges, so she decided to take a one-year maternity leave break. In Germany, parents are allowed to take up to three years of maternity leave together. And it’s up to them how they want to split up the leave time.

“I think company-wise, it’s really, really nice how handled the maternity leave and how flexible the company is. We immediately looked for another scrum master who would take over my job to keep the transition smooth. It’s something I really appreciate.”


As it happens, the first day back at work with her new team after the maternity leave was also the day when the Corona lockdown has been officially announced in Germany – leading to one of the most demanding times in her career. 

“It was challenging for everyone, but I assume especially for my young developers in Portugal as they had a really hard lockdown. As a Scrum Master, you would like to take care of the team and do sanity/health checks from time to time.”

While she has been adjusting to the pandemic situation with her partner and two kids at home on her own, Alissa has been trying to keep the team together and enhance the positive mood by organizing multiple remote team events, online breakfasts, and regular check-ins. 

“Since the pandemic started and the kindergarten was closed, my partner and I were working without any breaks. You couldn’t separate personal and work life and then you come into situations where your children, for example, are constantly screaming and crying and you’re in the middle of a presentation.” 

For Alissa and many others, the pandemic was an adjustment on various levels. The switch from office to home, having fewer personal scrum meetings, and taking care of her two very young children with her partner who also has to work from home. It’s an experience that can be stressful and exhausting after 1 1/2 years.

And that’s when she decided to have another one-year parental leave to have time for her kids, partner, and most importantly for herself.


In the last months, Alissa has been returning to work for 25 hours per week – approaching the work with new agile habits and a different mindset for good. 

“I started to do meditation every morning and it helps me to be more grounded and to adapt to changes way better. My husband and I are also having more clear responsibilities now – from who’s bringing the kids to school or who’s taking care of the dinner. We even divide the weeks into mother/father or babysitter days. It’s important to have transparency and to have regular check-ins because things can change easily when someone is for example sick in the family.” 

To Alissa, provided a helpful environment for her family and made it easy to take breaks or transition back to work slowly in the last five years. With the company benefit Flextime, she’s also able to schedule and balance her working hours in the way she needs it. If she for example can’t join a meeting due to the sickness of her children or if she needs to pick them up from kindergarten, she can catch up on the working hours at a different time and day.

Even though there are some parallels in how she approaches work and parenting now, it’s obvious that these are still different pairs of shoes:

“If you’re going to be a parent, there’s no certificate or onboarding on this. Almost everything is learning by doing and you have to keep understanding the kids and adapt to them. My partner and I even did parent coaching, which is recommendable if you want to understand even more what it means to be a parent and how to get a sense of your kids in different ways.”

Alissa is a mother. Someone who cares about her family and tries to make things right. While her skill is to know how to shift priorities constantly, it’s quite clear that her number one priority will always be her family. 

Know more about our company, MB.ioneers, and our benefits by following us on LinkedInYouTube, and Instagram!

From Intern to Product Owner: Mile GrnCarov

Berlin-based MB.ioneer Mile GrnCarov pulls back the curtain on his journey since 2019. 

Testing out new things can be adventurous, but Mile doesn’t shy away from that – whether it’s on a personal or professional level. In 2019 at the age of 22, he moved from Bulgaria to Berlin to start a new job and a new life at

The beginnings as an intern

“While I was in university, I knew that I wanted to work in tech, mainly in marketing but I was open to try anything via an internship, so I applied to,” he says. “I started as a growth and marketing intern, working with the Bertha team – a product that helps users to find the best gas station and enables them to pay for their gas from the app.”

Mile describes the move from Bulgaria to Germany, especially Berlin as quite a change. But after graduating in Business Administration and Political Science at an international university with a busy environment, starting at felt like a continuation of the journey he was already on. 

“I never felt out of place here. I remember one of the first meetings that I ever went into, I heard so many ideas flying around from everybody, people showing what they’ve done over the sprints and everyone immediately taking action on specific tasks. And I thought: This is the atmosphere that would be cool to spend a lot of time in.”

“I quickly realized that this role was not just traditional marketing, but also data insights, UI/UX, and product development and we got to do everything from scratch.” In the eight-month internship, Mile created big marketing campaigns and developed product strategies to improve the retention rate or general user flow with a lot of data experimentation. He implemented new tools and tested out different acquisition channels for the product – from Instagram, and YouTube to even outdoor car cinemas. 

“One thing I like about is that you get entrusted with so many different responsibilities from the beginning. That helped my transition from being a young professional or an intern to working full-time. The responsibilities were already given to me and I was allowed to run small and big projects by myself”. 

Becoming a Product Owner

After working as a Growth Specialist for the Bertha and Mercedes me Service app, becoming a product owner for Fuel & Pay in 2021 felt like a natural progression for him. Fuel & Pay is a product for the Mercedes Me app, allowing Mercedes drivers to pay for gas with the app and the Headunit system in the car. “Everything that I was doing before, was in a way leading me to this new role. In my growth role, I was already trying to organize new initiatives and trying to get different team members to move together to create something. Being a product owner seemed at the beginning something that’s a larger scale of what I was already doing.” 

Following the mentorship of other MB.ioneers, who were sending him all sorts of books, articles, and YouTube videos to prepare for his exams, Mile admits that: “Nothing really got me as prepared as actually starting to do the role itself.” He started shadowing other Product Owners at the company, joined meetings, and looked through their documentation to understand the dynamics and impact of the role in practice. 

When asking him what he specifically likes about being a Product Owner, he refers to the fact that: “It feels like every sprint you get to start a fresh page and try and do it better this time or try it at least differently. So it’s like a constant iteration of the work we do together.”

Exploring things & being inspired

One of his passions outside of work is producing visual content for himself. It ranges from work-related topics such as explaining new marketing tools to simple things in life he enjoys like making coffee – something that keeps him inspired to explore new things:

“It’s a culmination of experiences and content I consume every day and it drives me in my daily work life too. I don’t like to separate work and life too much. The two areas are more supportive than balancing each other out.”

Testing out new things can be adventurous but for many like Mile, it can lead to finding purposes, and arriving at new homes on a professional but also a personal level. In the end, it always feels like a mind-broadening experience. 

If you want to know more about our company or MB.ioneers, make sure to follow us on LinkedInYouTube, and Instagram!

Meet the MB.ioneer Season 1 Recap

Ask our MB.ioneers what this company is about and they will tell you one thing: People. 

In our Meet The MB.ioneer – Series, we introduce our people by asking them quick-fire questions about their roles, what they like, and how they would describe their jobs to their grandmas. Season 1 is finally wrapped up now and here you can have a glimpse of the MB.ioneers who drive our company. If you don’t want to miss out more content – just subscribe to our YouTube channel!

#MeetTheMBioneer Season 1 Recap


Check out what kind of testing Margarida prefers and what you will always find on her desktop!


João calls himself “one of many Joaos” and describes in this episode what a typical day at work for a Site Reliability Engineer looks like. 


 A lot of coding, a lot of meetings and a lot of fun – Ana Martins speaks about her life at and the most memorable experience so far. 


Karina is a legend who is in the company for about six years already. Find out what she is doing as a Program Lead and how many meetings she is doing on a daily basis. 


In this episode, you will hear what Marius does when he starts his day at 04:15 am and why he has a love for scrunchy cables. 


Filipa not only likes to talk about her cat, but is also a passionate UI/UX designer who would love to ride a giraffe. 


“There’s the thing called the internet.” This is how Product Lead Tasnim would start explaining the role to her grandmother. Click on the video to see what else she would say about her job. 


People’s person Carlos joined the tribe just recently and knows exactly how to help his team to deliver the best of their work. 


Meet Snehaa in the last episode: A Product Owner who makes sure to be the bridge between different teams and stakeholders. 

You will meet more MB.ioneers in the second season which is already in production. To stay tuned, just give us a like and subscribe on YouTube!