4 Reasons Why Every College Student Should Intern at a Startup
May 08, 2017
While you're analysing your summer internship options, it's easy for a big-name company to sway your attention. Who wouldn't want Google, Microsoft, or Facebook on their resume?
But there’s a lot to be gained in terms of experience by working for a smaller company, especially when it's your first time into the workforce. Working for an up-and-coming tech company may not have the brand-name recognition that your friends in finance and consulting are looking for, but it will give you a view of real-life experience that will be hard to get in any other industry.
Here are just a few reasons why working for a startup this summer makes a tonne of sense.
You’ll Have Real Responsibilities
At an early-stage startup, time is gold, and every team member, including interns, is critical. This means that you’ll be working on projects that directly impact users, and probably immediately.
Cracking your first deal to get a client or publishing your first blog post can be scary, but working through these fears and learning to take responsibility as an intern has a lot of benefits. You will be able to show ownership of important projects that can help you land a job post-graduation, at the same time you’ll also gain the confidence to know you can take on a new project and run with it. Later on, while your peers are referencing leadership in the framework of student groups they’ve run when writing cover letters, you can describe the real work you’ve completed—and rocked.
You’ll Learn a Lot About How Companies Work
As an intern for a large company, your exposure is often limited to the small portion that you’re working on directly. With hundreds of interns and thousands of employees, there’s no way to effectively expose yourself to all aspects of the business.
But in an early-stage startup, it’s almost impossible not to. Whether it’s overhearing design debates at the next table or chatting with the head of engineering over lunch, being part of a small team means that you’ll naturally be around every part of the company, and most startups actively ensure that everyone stays in the loop.
You’ll Get to Try Out Multiple Paths
If you’re still unsure about what you want to do after college, this cross-team exposure will help you identify other areas you may want to explore. For example, as a marketing intern at a small startup, you may find yourself writing blog posts one day (communications), researching keywords the next (marketing) and then setting up user interviews the day after (user research).
Being part of a small startup also means you have access to employees from every department if you want to explore an area you didn’t previously know anything about. Maybe you’re an engineering intern, but setting up lunch with the head of design or CFO can teach you about other areas—and how they might potentially interact with your chosen field. And, even if you do know what you want to do, understanding other roles will make you a much more effective collaborator going forward.
You’ll Build Great Contacts
One of the best thing about startups is that some of them go on to become big companies, and if you work somewhere with fewer than 30 employees, you’ll have a chance to get to know everyone. And these people can turn into great friends and great business contacts for years to come.
Even if the startup you intern at doesn’t succeed—well, that just means you’ll have that many more companies where you know someone when it’s time to look for your next summer internship or first out-of-school job.
There used to be a time when working for a startup meant working for free, which is not the case anymore. So, submit your applications (www.startupwiz.in/internship) for the profile you are interested in. If you can show intelligence, motivation, and talent, you’ll have companies ready to make you an offer that you cannot refuse.
How to apply for internship