2016 Startup Internship Award Winner Supported by The Dr. William Zucker Entrepreneurship Internship Fund
Working at DropChef in Dublin, Ireland this past summer helped me learn a great deal about startup life and living abroad. I found the internship through Sage Corps (which I found through PennLink), a company that matches students with startups around the world, finds housing, provides a country manager, and organizes various networking events while abroad. Sage Corps appealed to me because I love traveling and have always wanted to live abroad, and they made living and working abroad possible.
My motivation for working at a startup this summer was gaining industry experience since for the two previous summers I worked at Nike’s World Head Quarters in Global Supply Chain and Human Resources. For this past summer, I wanted insight into the startup industry. I am unsure what career path I want to pursue after Penn, so spending time in multiple fields will help me narrow my search. The startup industry appealed to me because I like to see the difference my work makes and I knew I’d be able to do that at a small startup.
For students who are interested in working at a startup over the summer, I would say that everyday is a new opportunity to experience new aspects of a company, and to not expect to have a set task or two the entire internship. As an economics major with previous experience in data analytics, I was expecting to work with the company financials and frequently perform data analytics. However, my main project was launching a blog for the company, a task I had never done anything remotely similar to before. Day-to-day activities can change instantly, and to get the most of your startup experience, going with the flow and being comfortable trying anything will help you get the most out the startup experience.
I was not expecting that launching a blog would be my part in helping DropChef expand, but I dove into the blog head-first, and ended up learning a great deal about writing for an audience I had no prior experience writing for, interviewing people from companies that DropChef had no prior relationship with, and social media promotion. I did not realize how much work goes into a blog post until my time at DropChef and created my formula for researching, interviewing for, writing, finding photos, creating graphics for, and promoting my articles. At first, I was overwhelmed by the blogging task since I had never written articles that would be published under a company name, but after a few posts (I published 2 per week) I was confident in my ability. From here, I looked at the data analytics behind the blogs to see which ones were most successful, the timing of a successful post, etc. Examining the data analytics behind my posts was fascinating because I loved seeing how my work was directly affecting the company. I also enjoyed the challenge of finding ways to make future posts stronger.
Another aspect of my internship was setting up competitions with partner companies to bring awareness to DropChef. The new partner companies were ones that I interviewed for my articles and had formed relationships with. I thoroughly enjoyed my time at DropChef this summer and am eager to spend time exploring the startup community in Philadelphia.