Jennifer Sung WG’13, interned at Birchbox in New York, NY

2012-2013 Neff Entrepreneurial Intern Fellow

How did you find the position?

My strategy for identifying and securing my internship at Birchbox was to rely primarily on my personal network of contacts that I had made from previous events including Wharton’s Retail Conference where I met Matt Hertz, Director of Logistics and Operations at Birchbox.

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

My main motivation for working at Birchbox this summer was to gain exposure at a well-funded fast-growing company.  Launched in Fall 2010, Birchbox is one of the fastest growing companies in New York and backed by top VC firms, including Accel Partners and First Round Capital.

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

  1. Spend time thinking about the role, sector, size, culture, and reputation of the company you would  be interested in working for – start-ups really do come in all shapes and sizes so it’s important to figure out early on what’s the right fit for you.
  2. When recruiting, read the job descriptions at the companies of interest and come up with ideas for  how you would tackle issues related to that job.  Try to uncover hidden issues or challenges where you might be able to leverage your unique skills.
  3. Don’t be afraid to reach out to your classmates, alums, and Wharton’s Career Management for introductions and advice.

I spent my summer interning at Birchbox, a personalized subscription service that delivers high-end samples directly to members with an online magazine and store.  I was given the responsibility of leading Birchbox’s product strategy and development initiatives for the e-commerce store.  My main project focused on developing a roadmap for identifying, planning, and prioritizing product ideas to maximize e-commerce sales including the identification of an estimated $6 MM in incremental annual revenue to complement the existing subscription service.  In addition to being responsible for managing new products from inception to launch, I grew and cultivated partnerships with other retailers and designed processing and reporting systems to enable the company to scale its growing product development operations.  The role also involved much cross-functional leadership as I worked closely with a team of merchandising, operations, marketing, and finance managers to launch and implement new products.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed my experience at Birchbox as I was able to learn firsthand how to establish business development, understand product market fit, and lead product strategy and prioritization – all skill sets that are critical for an aspiring entrepreneur.