4 reasons to do your internship in a startup
⏳ 5 minute read
An intern’s perspective on joining a startup in the middle of a pandemic.
Published on August 18, 2020
by Chiara Enciranes
It’s crazy how five individuals coming from different backgrounds bring about a company who has made a valuable impact to the lives of job seekers. Workbean, a team of five, brought up the notion of company culture as a criterion when choosing a job. Seeing them so passionate about helping job seekers find ‘work where they belong’ is just one of the reasons why I enjoyed my internship.
During my two-month stay in Workbean, I have learned countless things that I won’t probably learn or even hear inside the classroom. Ironically, it is through Workbean and not in the classroom where I knew the real definition of a startup (and nope, the definition does not revolve around employee size). To give you more, here are four reasons of why working in startups is a top-notch experience.
1. You get to work alongside the C-suite.
In my stay with Workbean, I was treated as if I was one with them in founding the organization. Knowing their sentiments on why and how they brought the company from the ground up deserves a TED talk alone. Being involved with their weekly meetings is something I hold dear for I was given the eyes to see the business and job market from a bigger picture and a voice to create changes on the front-end. Startups who have a flat organization such as Workbean gives you the sense of belongingness that everyone wants to achieve in his/her work.
2. Your mentors will let you do the nitty gritty.
Serving as an intern for big brands and corporations won’t allow you to do the nitty gritty of business. They have a lot of seniors and superiors to begin with. However, startups need all the effort they can get, even if it entails starting from zero. Specifically, a part of my scope involves data analytics regarding the performance of our website and marketing strategies. It entailed me to type job entries and compute for clicks and pageviews, while switching from Chrome to Excel for a good two to three hours every Monday. My eyes felt tired and dizzy at the end of the process but giving recommendations that would make an impact on the front-end was a feat in itself.
3. Experience exponential growth personally.
It is through startups that you would experience that rapid growth not only financially speaking but also mentally speaking. Most startups are part of fast-paced industries; hence, it’s an important skill to effectively adapt and make sense of the changes around. For instance, I didn’t know where to start my major pricing project for this internship. I didn’t know where to get the important information I need from our competitors, not to mention most of them were international companies. But it is through this research that I experienced exponential growth. The project forced me to search and search every day. Part of my daily routine was to watch Youtube videos regarding startup pricing models and SaaS pricing which were all completely new to me at that time. In just two months, I have learned a lot of concepts and was able to apply it in an output, taking into consideration the drastic change that the pandemic made.
4. Have that extreme learning curve.
If I were to present a pie chart of what I did throughout the whole process it would look like this:
The point is I got wear a lot of hats. Changing from one hat to another challenged my versatility, but it was fulfilling to see myself try and explore new things.
Just because my course dictated me to be a numbers type of person doesn’t mean that I have to work with numbers 100% of the time. I mean, who would want to journalize entries even out of accounting school? I probably won’t ever learn stuff regarding UX and UI had I not shoot my shot for this internship.
More than the obvious perks of working in a startup, my experience opened my eyes to new beliefs and insights. Pre-Workbean days,
I was one of those who want to work for companies who are in the spotlight, because that’s how people roll in my college.
Information about hidden gem companies, or companies who aren’t heavily marketed but give a whole better range of benefits and amenities, are least accessible to us since we were always blinded by the famous brands. Workbean made me realize that size plus popularity isn’t everything, and business isn’t all about profits. More than creating value to consumers, it’s all about building a positive impact to your employees. At the end of the day, the company’s most important asset are its employees.
My bosses and colleagues who embody the ‘work where you belong’ advocacy speaks a lot about the true motives of the company. I am more than grateful to have been mentored by amazing and promising leaders. If there’s one thing I learned about interpersonal relationships at work is that when you are doubting yourself, it should be your boss who believes in you first.
I still remember my first check-up with one of the founders regarding my major pricing project. I was 3-weeks away from the deadline and I haven’t been making any significant progress. But then she fueled up my game by just saying, “I really think that you’re super smart.”
Simple things like this coming from my boss whom I have met shortly a month ago creates so much impact not only at work but in my outlook moving forward. Workbean raised my standards of my ideal boss and mentor. It’s the perfect time for job seekers to look for compassionate leadership and for employers to prioritize employee growth.
To all early starters, current career switchers, and future job seekers out there, here are two tips that I learned from the whole process and I wish it can be of purpose to your journey. First, act on your own world. Ask yourself, why would I stay in a company where my boss gives zero interest in me? Why would I stay in a place where people don’t see my value?
You are likely to work for 90,000 hours in your lifetime and it’s not worth it for you to stay in a workplace you don’t enjoy. In their world, you might just be another regular employee waiting to be paid on an average but in your world, you are a hero worth millions. Find that company who values your expertise, insights, and well-being even if it’s a company in the shadows. Lastly, embrace the uncertainty. Security is important but flexibility and adaptability is another level. Uncertainty brings discomfort and that’s where you can grow a lot. Shoot your shot and accept what’s beyond your comfort zone. Turn it into a challenge and see yourself fulfilled at the end.
This pandemic has taken a toll not just to us students but also to the millions of fresh graduates whose plans of employment were disrupted. Living in a third world country where landing your dream job and preferred company isn’t a choice for most of the population, makes it even more important for startups like Workbean to continue making employer information accessible to all. Witnessing this team of five find their purpose and turn their own experiences into something meaningful for countless others is nothing but an inspiration you have yet to experience.
Chiara just finished her stint at Workbean as a finance-slash-analyst-slash-researcher intern. She has a weird love affair with Excel and is fond of making random jokes in the middle of conference calls. She is currently a university student at the University of the Philippines, Diliman.