Wendy Zhou C’18 interned at VeryApt in Philadelphia, PA

2016 Startup Internship Award Winner Supported by The Jeff Sutton (W’81) Entrepreneurship Internship Fund

This summer, I continued my spring semester internship from the school year at VeryApt, a venture backed tech startup founded by two Wharton Business School alumni that combines user-generated reviews with data driven analytics to deliver personalized apartment recommendations. I initially found the internship through a PennLink listing.

As an art student for most of my life, I have always been interested in combining my creative passions and innovative mentality into whatever I do career-wise in the future. With a start-up, I am allowed that flexibility with the ability to wear different hats, work on various projects, and take more of a lead within realms that I feel strongly about. With VeryApt this summer, I was able to utilize my photography skills in a way that allowed me to both grow professionally as well as exercise my artistic eye.

My best piece of advice to students interested in working at a startup would be to develop and utilize the relationship with your founders and employers, if at all possible. As I was working with a relatively small startup, I was really able to work on projects that would allow me to not only further my career but also engage me in pursuits that I normally would not have picked for myself. If there is something you’re interested in developing more within the realm of or something that you are curious about learning more about, communicate that and there will be someone able to help or at least guide you in the right direction. Within a startup, there are a plethora of tasks for you to work on so choose ones that you are interested in. Everyone there is invested in your development and experience as well so don’t be shy about what you hope to gain out of your summer internship.

Though I am still not completely certain of what I want to do in the future, this summer gave me clarity that I do hope to do something that provides me with a sense of real impact, something that can sometimes can be less attainable at a bigger or more established firm. At VeryApt, I was very much working to further the company as it is currently in its growth phase. The changes I made were very much tangible, present on the site as soon as I completed the tasks I was assigned. In a way that I’ve never experienced before, I was witness to VeryApt’s transition from an idea that would provide convenience to a fully functional search engine that has provided a multitude of users with ease and accessibility. I hope to be a part of a culture that is continuously growing, changing, and evolving to the needs and demands of its consumers. This interchange excites me.

The very experience of being surrounded by people who are so incredibly passionate and committed to the very mission of VeryApt has shifted my perception of what kind of career would hopefully fulfill me in the future. I hope to be surrounded by people who sincerely have an investment in their company’s growth and are therefore very much a part of such growth. And for that, I have VeryApt to be thankful for.