Mamta Patel (WG’14), interned at Simplee in Palo Alto, CA

THE 2013-2014 AMBASSADOR OF ENTREPRENEURSHIP

Wharton Entrepreneurship Advisory Board Intern Fellow

How did you find the position?

I participated in a Health IT trek to San Francisco in February and Simplee was one of the companies visited. They subsequently posted the internship position on the Career Management posting boards.

 

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

I previously worked in consulting and wanted to try something very new, more ambiguous, and lacking structure. Also, I thought I would enjoy working at a start-up but needed to test the waters first because deciding that I would focus on start-ups for full-time.

 

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

Begin creating a list of companies you are interested now. Look for connections you have to employees within that company and try to begin networking immediately. They likely won’t even know if they want to hire interns until March and onwards but it is important to show interest early.

 

My summer at Simplee

On the first day of work at Simplee, I was nervous. Previously, I had worked at the same company for 5 years before returning to school. It had been a long time since I’ve had a “first day at work.” I had no idea what to expect and whether I would enjoy it.

The summer experience was a personal journey for me. I was used to structure, large teams, and a wealth of resources in my previous job as a consultant. I was entering a world that lacked structure, the team was only as big as it needed to be, and there were fewer resources. I learned a lot about myself through the experience and what I can handle in terms of ambiguity which turned out to be my biggest struggle.

Early on, it was difficult for me to understand who reported to who, who was responsible for what, and who was I supposed to work with for different tasks. I worked through the personal challenge by asking questions constantly to make sure I didn’t miss a step and to ensure I talked to all the right people before delivering what was expected.

As time went on, I tried to build structure for certain tasks, but only as much as was needed. For example, I created a webinar deck for Simplee. I built out a timeline to complete the deck, including dates for reviewing drafts with various members of the team. Simply creating the timeline put me at ease and gave me the structure I needed to complete the task. I wouldn’t even say I stuck to the original timeline, but I did always have it there to remind me of who I needed to talk to and what I needed to do along the way.

In the end, for each task I completed during my time at Simplee, another team member needed to continue the work. I used my lessons learned from the summer and created “instructions” of what needed to be done for each task, by whom, reviewed by whom, and dates to complete by. I feel like I was able to leave a valuable process in place for each task I had taken on.

Ultimately, over the summer, I learned that I do want to work for a start-up. I do want to remain in healthcare and more specifically, information technology. I can handle ambiguity. I can find ways to be at ease in a new environment. Overall, I enjoyed the experience and wouldn’t a change a single part of my learning process.