2014-2015 Ambassador of Entrepreneurship
Neff Entrepreneurial Intern Fellow
I spent my summer as a marketing analyst for the New York City based Android app, Slidejoy. Slidejoy is an intelligent Android app that puts beautifully designed advertisements on your lockscreen and pays you every time you unlock your phone. It was an incredible experience. With a team of less than ten people, I was able to become an integral part of the team and, as a result, I learned more about the practical facets of running a company in ten weeks than I ever thought possible.en people, I was able to become an integral part of the team and, as a result, I learned more about the practical facets of running a company in ten weeks than I ever thought possible.
How did you find the position?
I found my position through the Wharton Entrepreneurship listserv. An email was sent out the first week of March that listed a summer internship opportunity with Slidejoy, and I jumped on it. I had been looking to work at a start up over the summer and I found the idea behind the company fascinating. I applied right away.
What was your motivation for working at a start-up this summer?
I’ve always been very interested in the tech industry, and I wanted to gain experience in the field and learn real world skills. Working at a start up guarantees that you’ll be given responsibility, and your work will be noticed. You can learn from what you do right, and learn even more from what you do wrong.
What advice would you give to students interested in working at a start-up this summer?
There are few things in this world you can count on, but one of them is definitely this: A start up job isn’t going to fall into your lap. There isn’t OCR for ten person companies. It’s up to you, so you have to be proactive. Don’t look for a job in June if you know what company you want to work with right now.
However, most start-ups won’t be recruiting for the summer early on in the year. It’s your responsibility to constantly be keeping your eyes open for opportunities. Penn has a variety of resources through Wharton Entrepreneurship and PennLink to help you, and don’t be afraid to go to Career Services and ask them to look over your resume. Also, check out the Start Up Career fair.
But also recognize that there are resources outside of Penn as well. Don’t be afraid to apply directly from a company’s website, or just straight up email the founders.
It may seem like a no brainer, but start-ups can’t afford to hire a ton of interns. They don’t have all the resources in the world, so you have to be prepared to tell them why they need you, specifically. Why should they take the risk and hire you? Are you a marketing whiz? A budding financier? Did you cure AIDS last summer? These would be good things to mention.
Be prepared for the fact that
You and your friend interning at a law firm won’t have a whole lot in common. Every day at a start up is a whole different ball game. You can spend Monday analyzing data on Excel for a marketing presentation, Tuesday presenting your company on stage to hundreds at the NY Tech Meet Up, and Wednesday holding a focus group. No day is exactly the same, and that’s one of the most valuable aspects of working at a start up. You gain exposure to all aspects of a budding
company. You can talk to the CEO, marketing director, and engineer because you’re all sitting in the same room.
However, this type of job also requires a lot of your own initiative. Your boss may not have time to give you specific tasks to fill up all of your time. You have to be able to direct yourself to get the most out of your internship.
But don’t be afraid to ask questions. You’re there to work, but you’re also there to learn. And you’ll learn a lot, I promise.