9 Reasons Why Every College Student Should Intern At A Startup

Posted on April 8, 2015 in Education, Lists

By Punyaslok Rath:

Everybody was shocked when Rajeev chose to intern at a small startup, instead of IBM. This was unexpected. A 1st year MBA student, he had secured the coveted IBM internship with probably one of the best pay packages on the college campus. But ultimately he went on to work at the startup.

A rising number of students like Rajeev are giving up offers from the big names in favour of working at up-and-coming startups. Be it the sheer value of experience gained from having real responsibilities, the chance to work in different verticals within one company or the informal culture, startup internships have become a big lure for prospective interns. Why, you ask?


1. You’ll have real responsibilities: An intern doing a small part of a big project or an intern taking lead in a small project— what would you prefer? Startups, striving to achieve that degree of stability, attribute more direct responsibilities to their interns. You have a direct impact on the customers/product. At first it might be scary knowing that there is no parachute for the actions you take and the mistakes you make, but that’s the beauty of startups! They teach you to allay your fear of failures. Many of these organizations have very few people and sometimes you might also be given tasks for which you have had no prior training. The key is to find a way to do it and be persistent till you get it done. Coming successfully out of that, you will have the confidence to take on new projects; something which is highly valued in the job market.

2. You will be exposed to almost all the aspects of a company: This is something which is impossible if you’re working in a big organization. Whether chatting with the tech-lead at lunch or catching up with the editorial team during unofficial Maggi breaks, being a part of small team invariably results in being informed about all the verticals of the company. You will learn a lot about how things actually run.

3. Explore your career paths: This across-the-team exposure helps you identify the areas you might be interested in. A few days into a startup and you will have a fair idea of what works how. You could request trying out a specific role you are more interested in. As a matter of fact, one particular role can expose you to many responsibilities. For example, a marketing intern at a startup could be asked to work on marketing strategies, to set up meetings with potential clients, to build a database, or to research keywords (SEO aspect of marketing). And with every responsibility, you get a chance to learn a new skill.

4. One can’t find a better office environment than in startups: They are known for their informal culture and flexible work hours. You don’t have to worry too much about corporate etiquette.

5. Be heard: Even if you’re a 19-year-old, you can have a say in the marketing strategy of a company! Unlike the set methods of big brands, the startup is always looking for innovative methods to do stuff.

6. Work with the most inspirational and motivated people: Most of the startup bosses have left their lucrative jobs to start their own ventures. It’s inspiring to work with someone who has taken the road less travelled. Plus, people at startups are there because they love what they do. Work satisfaction goes a long way in making your career successful.

7. Your career grows with the company: Startups are more invested in your growth because if you are not growing, their progress is stalled.

8. Boast of an enviable title: Imagine being the Editor-in-Chief, or Marketing Manager, or Social Media Executive of your company. How cool is that! You will be surprised by the sense of purpose it can invoke.

9. Build a good network: True that only a handful of startups go on to make it big, but if they do, imagine the network that opens up for you. You would have worked there when the total number of employees was less than 30 or 50 or so. Even if they don’t make it big, your colleagues can become great friends, mentors or even prospective investors in your own startup!

Yes, a big-name internship boosts your resume, but working at a startup is exciting, it makes a real impact and gives you a sense of pride for your work.

Note: This article was contributed by Internshala – India’s leading internship portal.