RocksBox: The Entrepreneurial Internship Experience

By Linda Huang WG’15, Wharton Entrepreneurship Advisory Board Intern Fellow

How did you find the position?

I first learned about RocksBox while setting up company visits for the Wharton Tech Startup Trek (Fall 2014). I met the founder of RocksBox (Meaghan Rose, also a Wharton MBA alum) and reached out when I was searching for a startup internship.

RocksBox sm

What was your motivation for working at a start-up this summer?

I decided pretty early on in the school year that the best way for me to spend my summer would be to work at a startup that I was interested in. I am passionate about tackling interesting problems and making a meaningful impact – the best place to get a lot of that experience is at a startup.

What advice would you give to students interested in working at a start-up this summer?

[tweetthis alt=”‘Start developing connections early and often!’ How to score a #startup internship, via @WhartonEntrep” hashtag=”” url=”” ]Start developing connections early and often[/tweetthis] (meetups, industry conferences, coffee chats with alum…etc.) I would also suggest coming up with a pitch on specific skills you can bring to the table and how those skills can add value to the business.

One of my main post-MBA goals is to work in San Francisco at a tech startup. I wanted to get as much working experience as possible this summer and develop a strong skill set in marketing.

I chose RocksBox because I knew that I could make a bigger impact at an earlier staged company, and I was excited that I could combine my interest in e-commerce/fashion with my background in marketing and analytics. I knew that working at a startup directly with the CEO would allow me to get an inside view of how to run a company.

I was able to get a ton of responsibility early on in the internship. Before I even stepped foot in the office, I received a call from the head of marketing asking me if I would be willing to travel to other cities in the United States to conduct customer research. Without any hesitation, I said yes. On my second week on the job, I was conducting customer interviews and focus groups, coming up with a hypothesis of who our customers were and what questions to ask on the quantitative survey. We ended up coming back with many customer insights that proved to be invaluable to the core business.

I highly recommend interning at a startup for those who are proactive and want to make a real impact to the company. I can promise you that it will be nothing short of an adventure.

One of my main projects this summer was testing different customer acquisition channels and optimizing each one to come up with an overall marketing mix that could drive sustainable growth. I used both my qualitative and quantitative skills from prior experiences to complete this summer long project. The customer growth I saw during the summer was explosive. I found it to be very rewarding to be able to see such a direct connection between my effort and results.

In the spirit of optimizing purchase conversion on our website, I felt inspired to redesign several of the website landing pages. The most wonderful part of my summer internship was the ease of which I was able to do this. I proposed my designs on Photoshop to the CEO, and once approved, I worked with the CTO to get them launched on our website, all during my summer internship. If I were in a bigger company, this would have been nearly impossible to do in such a short timeframe.

The most important lesson I learned this summer was to be proactive and have a can-do attitude. I was able to make so many big decisions and changes because I was enthusiastic about talking about my ideas and proposals. I learned a lot about my own career goals this summer and honed in on my passion for marketing products and companies I believe in. Working at a startup is incredibly valuable for those who want to learn how to build something from the ground up. It was incredibly satisfying for me to look back and see the significant accomplishments we achieved in such a short amount of time.

I highly recommend interning at a startup for those who are proactive and want to make a real impact to the company. I can promise you that it will be nothing short of an adventure.

Entrepreneurial Intern Fellowships are available to Penn/Wharton Undergraduates and First Year MBAs. They are awarded to students who plan to spend the summer in an entrepreneurial setting and who demonstrate both a commitment to entrepreneurship at Penn and to pursuing an entrepreneurial career. To learn more or to apply, click here.

Linda headshotBio: Linda Huang is currently at Wharton pursuing her MBA and focusing on marketing & operations in the consumer retail sector. She has worked and advised several startups in various capacities, including marketing strategy and analytics. Prior to Wharton she worked in financial services. During her spare time at Wharton, Linda speaks on career panels and performs in the annual production of Wharton Follies as well as Battle of the Bands.