Mher Panossian WG’16 interned at Helix Sleep in New York, NY

Helix Sleep-12015-2016 Neff Entrepreneurial Intern Fellow

How did you find the position?
MBACM job positing on CareerPath

What was your motivation for working at a startup over the summer?
1. Wanted to have a tangible impact in a short duration over the summer
2. Wanted to gain experience to leverage for my own start-up in the future

What advice would you give to students interested in working at a startup this summer?
Don’t be shy to reach out to random people in or outside your network. And know the startup well enough to pitch a role you think they’d need help on and you’d want to work on

How to get the offer:
Startup recruiting is so much more different than traditional consulting / banking recruiting. A few tips and pointers as follows:
1. Think about what types of startups you want to work for. If you have no clue, find a list of startups out there, read about them, and reflect on how you feel after reading about each one. You’ll see that you’ll get much more excited about some vs others, and then you’ll start noticing a pattern which will essentially be you discovering about your own interests. A good list you can use is the latest Y-Combinator graduating class as they have a very diverse bunch of companies.
2. Think about all the other filters you’d want to have e.g. size of startup and geography. Then, after quite a bit of research jot down the top 10 startups you’d want to work for
3. After defining the 10 startups, fill out a table where each row is 1 of the 10 startups, and the columns are the following: Name of startup; High level description; 3 main reasons I’d want to work there; 4 things the startup may have the opportunity for me to do there; 2 things (selected out of the 4) that I’d be passionate to do there; what is the previous experience that I have that shows I am well equipped to succeed if the startup hired me for each of those 2 roles
4. Now comes the outreach part – abuse every single resource you can from the MBACM, to Spike, to LinkedIn connections, to Facebook connections, etc.… Have well drafted emails following every rule the MBACM teaches you – they work like magic
5. Startup interviews aren’t hard – they’re basically: “tell me a bit about yourself”, “what would you want to work on here”, “why would you be a good fit to work on that”. Note: startup interviews are MUCH more informal than all other interviews. It’ll feel like a chat but you still have to pitch yourself to them

What I did during my internship:
I was working for Helix Sleep, an e-commerce mattress brand primarily doing the following:
– Owned Helix Sleep’s prelaunch referral campaign (e.g. working with developers and designers to develop the campaign micro-site) where participants were incentivized to share about Helix Sleep’s upcoming launch by receiving discounts on Helix Sleep products; campaign gathered 40,000 emails with an estimated revenue potential of $360,000
– Led process development for hiring for various positions (e.g. stage gates, JDs, interview exercises /
questions, etc.…) resulting in the company’s first hire for the Director of Customer Experience position
What I learned from my internship (3 things):
– Having a founding team that’s well-functioning and with complimentary skillsets is really key to the
success of the startup
– Being in an environment where you feel the startup energy is just sensational and makes you believe
that you can actually build a successful startup yourself. Helix Sleep was working out of a WeWork office
at the time, so the atmosphere was great!
– Building a successful startup is all about attitude – the attitude with which you strive to get what you need, the attitude with which you deal with both the ups and the downs of the business, and the
attitude with which you deal with your colleagues and accept their mistakes