My summer internship, as a research analyst at CB Insights, was one of the M&T Intern Fellowship opportunities – came through an M&T listserv email. I was originally trepidatious about applying for an internship, as my skill set is somewhat limited, but this particular blurb asked specifically for an underclass student, one who was resourceful and willing to work in a fast-paced environment.
The job description was extremely dynamic and got me excited about the prospect of working with the company. I sent off my resume, and after a phone interview with Anand Sanwal (the company CEO and M&T alumnus) and an email assignment asking me to analyze the health of two private companies, I had secured a 10-week internship. While the stipend offered to me was small, the two grants I won – The Wharton Entrepreneurial Intern Fellowship and the M&T Intern Fellowship – made it possible for me to take on the internship (thank you, thank you, thank you!).
During my internship, as a CB Insights “Research Analyst,” I created a database of privately-held venture capital/private equity and angel investor-backed companies in the education technology (“ed tech”) sector. I analyzed this data and produced research briefs on ed tech funding trends, and also wrote weekly blog posts targeted towards entrepreneurs. I also created a marketing plan for the ed tech database launch.
The company was a very early-stage start-up; the group of summer interns effectively doubled the usual number of employees. There were five other undergraduate interns from Penn, three of them M&T, which was a good support group – while we were researching different industries, we had similar assignments and could help each other when needed. The company office itself was located in an incubator with about 30 other early-stage start-ups.
While I did spend a fair amount of time performing menial tasks such as data-cleaning and the like, I consider this internship to be an invaluable experience. I was given full responsibility for the creation, organization, and ultimate marketing plan of my particular data set – Anand even likened our roles to being the CEOs of our own start-ups. Over the summer, I picked up some useful Excel skills, but more importantly, I gained insight into the start-up world and found that being an entrepreneur is ultimately what I’d like to do. Overall, the experience definitely broadened my perspective on future career options available to M&Ts, outside the traditional banking, consulting, or engineering industries.
To underclassmen: don’t be afraid to apply to internship opportunities! The summers after your freshmen and sophomore years are for dabbling in different fields and finding out what you want to do. And be confident in your abilities.
Thanks once again for making this opportunity possible for me.