THE 2009-2010 AMBASSADOR OF ENTREPRENEURSHIP
Wharton Entrepreneurship Advisory Board Intern Fellowship recipient
How did you find the position?
WEP Internship auction.
What was your motivation for working at a start-up this summer?
I wanted to get a taste of working for a VC-backed startup and to learn from experienced entrepreneurs – as opposed to the bootstrapped companies I have previously worked for. I also wanted to network in the entrepreneurship circle here in the NY/Philly area.
What advice would you give to students interested in working at a start-up this summer?
Startup internships are usually unstructured – but get as much as you can get from it. Ask questions about the company and industry that go beyond your assigned tasks. Network whenever possible. Ask to go to meetings, conferences, etc. Ask to see financials. Ask everything you can think of. The lack of structure can be a good thing as it gives you a chance to be proactive and to learn as much as possible. If I could repeat the summer, I would have done this even more.
About the Summer Experience
I spent the summer in Manhattan as an intern for 33across.com – a small firm that builds technology to improve online advertising targeting.
I made use of the WEP auction to locate the job. 33Across had many of the things I was looking for – they’re a software startup in the NY area, their business is based on the clever usage of mass amounts of data, they’re backed by some great VC firms in the region, and they’re right at the cutting edge of online advertising. All of these aspects appealed to me as I evaluated the different firms in the auction.
The interview process consisted of a mix of phone interviews and in-person interviews with all members of the team. I traveled up to NY to speak with the other employees in NY and spoke on the phone to the employees out in CA. The entire process took roughly a month once the interviews began.
While at 33Across, my primary day-to-day tasks were related to product development and business development. I was in constant communication with the co-founders and the technical team as we worked to prioritize and determine the product timeline and to design new features and tools for the product.
All in all, it was an excellent experience. In addition to being immersed in the world of online advertising, I learned quite a bit about the challenges and opportunities that exist when utilizing massive amounts of data to build an innovative product. I had a chance to travel with the firm out to Silicon Valley, attend meetings with employees at some of the “hot” tech firms out in San Francisco, and to network with VCs both in NY and out in CA. It was also my first experience working with a VC-backed firm, and it was great to watch as the co-founders worked on subsequent rounds of funding and planned how to use their funds to balance operational needs and plans for growth.
Though the internship wasn’t as structured as I imagine internships would be at larger firms, I couldn’t have asked for more from the team. They included in me in just about every meeting, spent countless hours helping me understand the industry and the product, and were available to answer questions I had about the firm, the product, and the industry.