Asked by Anonymous
Asked on 11 Apr 2019
What are the factors to consider when choosing a 3 to 6 months long internship?
Breaking down your question into 2 parts:
Would you intern at a new small startup with reputable founders and investor backing?
Would you intern at a company that has just started your department and haven't even hired your direct superior yet?
My personal opinion is that you should choose an internship/company that puts you in the best possible learning environment/position to gain knowledge and experience that can be the most beneficial for your personal and future career development.
Some questions that I often ask myself prior to choosing an internship:
Am I able to learn and/or gain sufficient knowledge and/or experience in this role, from this company?
Am I able to learn and/or gain sufficient knowledge and/or experience from my mentors in this company?
Would there be a chance that I will come back to this company as a career option when I’m done with school?
You should consider your internship objectives and what you see yourself doing for a career after you’re done with school.
For example, if you are a fresh graduate and aspire to work in a bank, it’s good to know that a bank will more likely hire a fresh graduate that has done at least one internship with a bank/financial institution as compared to a candidate that has not done an internship with a banks or financial institution.
Next, what is your career interest? E.g. Operations, Sales, Marketing, Accounting, Engineering or Design?
Generally speaking, roles don’t really matter if you’re interning at an early stage Startup (Series A and lower). As more often than not, your job scope will consist of multiple roles across various functions. However, for a later stage Startup, it would matter more as your role will tend to be much more defined and focused. The good thing about joining smaller Startups is that very often you will be able to work closely with the founders. You will be able to gain hands-on and in-depth experience on building a company, starting something from scratch with limited resources, running a department and/or launching a product. This would be a great learning experience for you which money can’t buy and no schools can teach!
As compared to working for a larger scale startup/company, you tend to experience less as your job scope and task are much more defined, lesser responsibilities and cross-functional tasks (but more in-depth).
Also, a larger scale startup/company would tend to have sufficient or surplus of resources which allow them to hire every necessary/available position in their company while a smaller scale startup/company often have to bootstrap and have their employees/interns stretched across multiple roles.
Overall, it is important to understand that there will be higher risk and uncertainties involved when working for a startup as compared to working for an SME/Corporation. Therefore, it is good to be aware of/understand the fundraising stages and financial health of the Startup. As from there, you can work backwards the potential runway that the Startup has, which would be rather important if you’re doing a longer-term internship, i.e. 6-12 months duration.
In conclusion, if you find that the role matches your interest and you're able to learn and gain sufficient knowledge/experience from the founders, then you should definitely take on this internship opportunity.
However, the only red flag here is that usually, a company would first bring in a lead/manager (who will be in charge of this new department) and then have the lead/manager to hire his/her own team. This way the company can reduce the risk of having a mismatch of personalities/working relationships between its managers and his/her team.
I hope this will help. Have fun jumping onboard this Rocketship!
I personally would, as this will be a great opportunity to try your hand at all aspects of runing a department and/or business. It will also put you at a position to take on roles that might not have been made available if a senior staff member was on hand.
Be warned that a start up environment is very fast-paced and chaotic, however you as a intern will be afforded the leeway to make mistakes, to fail and to learn. It will be hard to come by such an opportunity once you enter the workforce as a full fledged employee.
I am an Extremely Simple Person so i will give an extremely simple answer.
If u have no choice, just take it and move on.
Your career will not depends on it since is a no choice.
If u have a choice, choose the company tt will ask u to stay and work for them.
Simple yet not easy.
Hope my replies help.