Sierra Hirt W’16 interned at Dagne Dover in New York, NY

Dagne Dover22015-2016 The Neff Entrepreneurial Intern Fellow

Penn is known for its prominent entrepreneurship scene, so it is not uncommon to know multiple people involved with a startup. At the same time, the majority of Wharton students still end up going through OCR and end up working at large companies in banking or consulting. Up until the fall semester of my junior year, I imagined I’d be one of the many hoping to land an internship in consulting. I knew I definitely wasn’t interested in finance, so I figured consulting was the obvious other option. As I talked to my senior friends about their job prospects and plans after graduation, I realized I had been severely limiting my own. Sure many of them were in the midst of signing offers from Barclays and Bain, but I also found that others had chosen the riskier yet more rewarding route of entrepreneurship. Over the next few months I assured myself that breaking away from the consulting conveyer belt to try working at a startup was a viable option, and I couldn’t be happier that I did.

This past spring when all my friends were running around from info session to info session and furiously prepping for interviews, I still had a nervous feeling that perhaps I should be doing the same. I was spending my time looking into startup companies to reach out to, uncertain about whether I’d be able to find the right one to match my interests. As I explored possibilities, Dagne Dover kept popping up. I had first heard about Dagne Dover from a friend and fellow classmate who interned there during their first year of business. When she was there they were a new company breaking into the online handbag marketplace with their organization-friendly and fashionable bags, and they’ve grown immensely in the last two years. I learned more about the company when I attended an entrepreneurship panel that the CEO Melissa Mash, WG’12, was participating in. I remember being amazed by her career experiences and how hard she and the other two founders had worked to make their dream company a reality.

Not too much later in my search for an internship, Dagne Dover came up again. While I often ignore or skim club newsletters, I happened to read this particular email more closely. Dagne Dover was looking for interns, and I knew immediately that it was meant to be. I emailed them that night to inquire about the application process. After speaking to Melissa and then interviewing with the COO Deepa Gandhi, WG’13, I finally knew how I’d spend my summer.

When I came to Wharton, I’d never imagined that I’d spend a summer in New York interning at a startup, but I found that my time at Dagne Dover was one of the best experiences I’ve had during college. While my title was Operations Intern, I had opportunities to learn multiple facets of the business, from customer service to marketing. I loved working with a small team and appreciated that everyone there was willing to help the interns learn about anything they were interested in. While at the start of the summer I still thought I might end up pursuing a more traditional career path, the past few months confirmed that startups suit my passions for problem solving, working first hand with products, and interacting with customers. After a summer with Dagne Dover, I am eager to pursue working at a startup full time.