6 truths about interning at a start-up

May 11th, 2012 7 comments

At Internshala we post a lot of internship opportunities in start-ups. Now interning at a start-up is not quite like interning anywhere else, and it’s best to be prepared before you make a decision. Read on about the benefits and challenges involved in interning at a start-up.

1. Hard work and responsibilities: – A start-up is a small team, and when they hire new members, they’re looking for someone who can make an impact. Big companies can afford to hire interns who don’t do much work, but start-ups cannot. Expect to have more responsibilities than you would get anywhere else. At the same time, don’t expect defined work hours and weekends off.

2. A diverse experience: – Start-ups usually don’t hire super-specialists for every job, and even if they do, these specialists have to be good at other things too. You cannot say, “This is my area of expertise and I cannot do much else.” Expect to dabble in areas that are not part of your job description.

3. A cohesive team: – There may be exceptions, but the team at a start-up is usually very friendly and good at working together. You will make great contacts and will have every opportunity to network. Reaching out to another team member for help is also easier in a small team.

4. Dedicated mentoring: – Your mentor will generally take their job seriously and you will not be left on your own until you figure things out. Although the founder or mentor will be extremely busy, expect to receive guidance and feedback whenever you require it.

5. Involvement: – To make your internship worthwhile, you need to be really involved in the company’s activities and truly believe in its goals. Expect your opinion to be asked for and for it to have importance.

6. Changing priorities: – In start ups, course corrections or changing priorities is quite a common thing. The code that you spent a week writing is no longer needed and there is something else more important and urgent you may get shifted to. Be ready to to deal with such knee jerk changes and use them as an opportunity to learn to adapt really fast.

Interning at a start-up has its challenges and its risks (the company may not succeed), but the experience is worth it. Nowhere else will you get the same amount of opportunities to learn new things, and need we mention that it looks great on your CV?

A word of caution: once you’ve interned at a start-up and liked it, nothing else may seem exciting enough!

Have you ever interned at a start-up? Tell us about your experience. Planning to intern at a start-up? Voice your doubts!

Image credit: www.epanchatantra.com

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  1. Chethan
    May 13th, 2012 at 08:17 | #1

    Sir,
    As you mentioned in the post that they keep a dedicated mentor for interns, would they be having enough resources to spare an employee for mentoring? and even if they did will he be highly capable?

    Thanks in advance,

  2. May 13th, 2012 at 10:53 | #2

    Great post. I wholeheartedly agree with the “Dedicated mentoring” point. My mentor really helps me out with everything and insists that I clarify any doubts with him. He also values my feedback and suggestions. He give me credit for the good work I do. I don’t think one can expect the same kind of treatment in big companies.

  3. May 14th, 2012 at 15:11 | #3

    @Chethan They do not appoint someone specially for mentoring. More often than not your founder will be your mentor. The point is, how you perform matters to them so they do not compromise on mentoring.

  4. May 14th, 2012 at 15:12 | #4
  5. November 17th, 2012 at 08:56 | #5

    *gives (Typo!)

  6. Sumeet
    September 22nd, 2013 at 14:56 | #6

    The best things i have experienced working in start-up are the flexible work hour and the generic job profile they offer. You have to be the master of one, but jack of all trade.

  7. Saurabh
    September 22nd, 2013 at 16:48 | #7

    A word of caution: once you’ve interned at a start-up and liked it, nothing else may seem exciting enough!
    true indeed.. :)

 

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