THE 2012-2013 AMBASSADOR OF ENTREPRENEURSHIP
Wharton Entrepreneurship Advisory Board Intern Fellow
How and Why I Got My Internship
My experience as a Business Development and Financial Strategist at Tidal Labs was unique in a few ways. I had never worked at a startup. The smallest company I ever worked at was two thousand people. At Tidal Labs, there were seven people. I found this position by looking on the Wharton MBA Career Management website. I then applied to the job and also emailed the founder to discuss the position. The founder is a University of Pennsylvania undergrad alum and was able to let me know the Intern Fellow Program. He was also willing to take a call on the phone amidst his busy schedule due to his Penn affiliation. I was motivated to work at a startup as I am working on a tech venture. I came from a consulting background and worked at Accenture, a firm with over fifty thousand people in only its consulting arm. Also the venture I am working on plans to move to New York City upon graduation from Wharton, so getting some startup experience specifically in New York City is something I wanted to achieve.
What the Entrepreneurship Internship Meant to Me
Internship may not be the right word, as working in an entrepreneurial environment is hardly structured or formal, and often, unpaid or little pay. Working with startups for the summer is truly what you make of it. It’s an opportunity to see the inner workings of startup environments and to help out in any way you can. I worked as a Business Development reaching out to alumni and other professionals in the digital media industry. As the summer progressed, and I learned more about the business, I took the lead in setting up meetings and pitching Tidal’s product to prospective clients. I also attended networking events to get the company’s name out there. In addition to the Business Development role, I also worked independently to retool Tidal’s financial projections, to enable better company decision-making. I attended a Building Financial Projections for Startups, and appended that to my finance experience. I was able to leverage this experience for my internship, and will also take the knowledge to my startup venture.
What I Learned About Startups and My Future
I validated this summer that an entrepreneurial environment is definitely for me. I love the feeling of
creating something brand new, and having an opportunity to bring what starts out as a vision to the world, despite the struggles in making it happen. The chance to be autonomous, but strategic and leverage my financial and consulting skills, be adaptable and take action is definitely something I want to do. I also learned first hand the importance of company culture and building a strong team of people who enjoy each other and how that helps drive a company forward. I have also learned the importance of advisors and how they can help move a company forward.
Advice to Students Interested in Startups
Walking into a startup job is unlike anything else your friends will be doing this summer, and you have to be comfortable with that. It takes some clarity on what experience you are trying to get from the summer to apply to a long-term strategy in regards to your life’s decisions. The job is unpredictable and is very likely to change a lot, so you cannot predict what your summer will be like.