For most students an internship at a highly-recognized company while studying can be an excellent way to gain useful experience and can also lead to successful employment.
Many students, however, underestimate the wonderful benefits of an internship at a startup, especially those involving innovative technology.
As an intern who recently joined the team here at FuelUp, I have noticed how beneficial working here has been and I would like to share these thoughts with you.
Creativity & Risk-Taking
One of the most important benefits is tech startups’ willingness to be bold and experiment with unconventional ideas. Not only is it actually a requirement for future survival and growth, but also for fostering real innovation. In fact, Tandon School of Engineering’s Steven Kuyan discussed how a significant amount of large corporations are in need of innovative solutions, but hesitate to accept the risks involved. FuelUp recognizes this trend and focuses on connecting such corporations with other innovative companies.
A tech startup approach offers very important lessons for students. It teaches them early on to think outside the box, to avoid stagnation at all costs and to have confidence in their knowledge and abilities. These traits are key for any young professional!
We have all heard the stories of interns who end up serving coffee, which has nothing to do with their degrees and strengths. Some larger companies are also very hierarchical in nature, with valuable input from lower-level employees often being ignored. This is one of the biggest reasons for losing an innovative edge.
Student interns at tech startups instead tend to be involved in important projects on a daily basis. This practice helps both parties: the student develops a greater understanding of the company, gets hands- on experience and feels valued. This leads to increased motivation and performance which benefits the startup.
In startups, employees from various departments cooperate to achieve a common goal. This encourages sharing of ideas and interns can gain relevant experience in other fields, which prepares them for future challenges and allows them to better orient themselves towards their preferred future profession.
Because of the employee diversity, startups offer a very fun working experience. From my personal experience at FuelUp, lunch breaks with the team are always a pleasure, whether we’d be enjoying the weather, joking around and playing table football, or discussing interesting topics. There is never a boring moment!
Potential for Success
The final benefit relates to the fact that startups are bound to experience fast growth at some point. This demonstrates to an intern that a good strategy, persistence and patience is necessary for success, especially when developing landscape-altering technology. Such a lesson not only helps interns develop more realistic expectations for their own careers, but also acts as a key motivator to achieve greatness one day!