Mark Grenader M&T’19 interned at Zinier in New Dehli, India

2016-17 Startup Internship Award Winner supported by the Jeff Sutton W’81 Entrepreneurship Internship Fund

After attending a host of career fairs and info sessions, I became quite frustrated with the lack of positions offering avenues to explore both engineering and business during an internship. However, companies advertising positions to the M&T community are fortunately more self selective and when a position came along advertising both machine learning algorithm development as well as marketing/operations aspects to an internship, I jumped at the opportunity. Most students hesitate in approaching such an opportunity because the caveat of minimal pay exists, but having talked to friends who utilized the Startup Internship Award last summer, I could proceed with some degree of cautious optimism.

As an engineering and operations intern, I was interfacing with clients, determining exactly what they wanted out of the cloud-based Field Service Management platform we were developing while simultaneously actively working to develop that platform from the ground up (working at an early-stage startup, nothing feels more fitting than using “we.” I intimately interacted with the 20+ employees of the company from the backend developers to C-Suite executives). Actively working in both realms, one sees how the value proposition desired by the client guides what we build, but at the same time you enter a “chicken and the egg” type scenario where during the process of coding and debugging, you developed a deep understanding of how the platform’s possibilities and limitations contributed to the value proposition being offered. That direct understanding in turn guides one’s views on the key factors involved in marketing decisions. You develop an understanding of the development process that doesn’t fully come across when working only on the engineering side or strictly on business.

The work and the people made for an experience in of itself, but doing everything within the cultural and business contexts of New Delhi, India and then Singapore made for a summer that will influence me for the rest of my life. I truly am grateful to the Startup Internship Award for having made this summer a possibility.