Jessica Trieber WG’16 interned at BaubleBar in New York, NY

2015-2016 Neff Entrepreneurial Intern Fellow

How did you find the position?

It was posted on the Career Center website, but I secured it through networking.

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

Try a new environment and discover if I preferred smaller companies. What advice would you give to students interested in working at a start-up this summer? Speak to as many people as possible and demonstrate passion! Your classmates are more connected than you can imagine – leverage this to get intros to people, even if they’re not in the exact position or company you want. You never know who someone might know!

It was posted on the Career Center website, but I secured it through networking.

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

Try a new environment and discover if I preferred smaller companies.

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

Speak to as many people as possible and demonstrate passion! Your classmates are more connected than you can imagine – leverage this to get intros to people, even if they’re not in the exact position or company you want. You never know who someone might know!

This summer, I had the opportunity to intern at BaubleBar on their Business Development and Partnerships team. BaubleBar was founded in 2011 by two HBS graduates and best friends who saw an opportunity for an ecommerce “fast fashion” brand that offered trendy and high-quality jewelry at an affordable price point. Since the launch, BaubleBar has gotten support from top VC firms and has expanded their distribution to include top retailers like Bloomingdales and Nordstrom, as well as opening their first brick and mortar store.

Although coming into Wharton I knew I wanted to intern at a startup, BaubleBar was not necessarily top of mind. I worked in the beauty industry prior to school, and I wanted to continue to work in Retail, but didn’t know where to start looking. I spent my first semester in an information-gathering phase, and tried to speak with as many people as possible. My initial approach was to comb the second years’ resume books, and reach out to people that had experience I thought was interesting. Everyone I reached out to respond to me within days, as well as offered to put me in touch with others in their networks. I framed my emails that at that point I was just trying to gain knowledge, rather than looking for connections or job opportunities, and so it made people very willing to speak with me. Through this, I got a better sense of what it was like to be at different-sized companies, and what startup roles usually look like. For instance, it was eye-opening to me that marketing at a startup is often more data-driven and analytical than the marketing roles I was used to. After a few months of this, I ended up with a much better idea of what I wanted and didn’t want and ended up with pretty specific criteria – a mid-sized, consumer-facing, NYC-based company – and this narrow scope definitely helped me stay focused

After I realized that BaubleBar perfectly fit my criteria, I began mentioning my desire to work there to anyone who would listen, and many of my classmates offered to put me in touch with people who could help. I ended up speaking with a Columbia MBA student who had interned at BaubleBar the summer before, and she told me about her experiences in Business Development and what the role entailed, and introduced me to other past interns so I could learn about their roles as well. Eventually, I was introduced to the person who would ultimately be my boss. It was clear to her that BaubleBar was my first choice, and she was impressed with the effort I had put in and how many people I had spoken to. The Business Development intern role was posted online, so they received a lot of very qualified applications, but my passion definitely helped me stand out. My Business Development role included ideating around new potential partnerships, conducting outreach, attending meetings with partners and solely managing the day to day process of summer-focused collaborations, such as programs we did with big brands like Vita Coco and L’Occitane. I also worked on collaborations with celebrity talent, such as the Guest Bartender program, where one celebrity a season designs their own line of jewelry. Rather than work on only one, overarching project the whole summer, I got to work on a number of smaller, more immediate projects, which I preferred. This allowed me to really understand how the company worked and what a career in Business Development would be like. You’re always going to juggling multiple things at a startup – so this felt very realistic! Not everything, however, was glamorous. Last summer, BaubleBar opened their very first brick and mortar store in Roosevelt Field Mall in Long Island. My team oversaw all retail operations, and so it was up to us to get the store ready to launch. This meant that my team and I spent a week out in Long Island, doing everything from cleaning to counting inventory to merchandising the store. It was definitely a bit hectic, but it was amazing to get to see all of our hard work pay off in such a short amount of time. It also made me realize that when you are working at a startup, you are going to be asked to do things you absolutely do not want to do, for example taking loads of trash out, but at the end you learn more that you think possible.

This past summer confirmed my desire to build a career in a smaller, dynamic environment. I loved that I was tasked with not only coming up with new ideas for partnerships and collaborations, but then given the autonomy to execute them. My startup internship was definitely more unstructured than other opportunities, but it allowed get a more holistic view of the business and have more exposure and impact than I thought possible.