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Why Every College Student Should Intern at a Startup

College is a very important period in every person’s professional career. Is the time when you collect lots of valuable information about the industry you want to activate in. Also, it’s very important that you put in practice the information you receive. The best way to do that is by interning at various companies.

I’d recommend you intern at startups. Why? Because you will be able to learn lots of information from the various situations you will encounter in those small companies.

The Best Way to Learn Swimming is to Jump into the Lake

Yes, this might sound rough but, that’s the truth. The best way to learn a thing is to face the problem head-on. By trying to avoid rough situations, you will not be able to develop all your skills. In a small company, not only problems have more weight but, you also need to have a hands-on approach and fix them. There aren’t 20 other people available to take care of a problem you don’t want to handle.

Departments Not Clearly Defined

I know, this might sound like a paradox but, it’s the truth. The fact that the departments are not clearly defined has its benefits. Let’s take a marketing department as an example. In a big corporation, the department is divided in online and offline. The online department has lots of personnel, a guy handles the paid advertising, another one is the social media guru, a person handles the email marketing campaigns, and so on.

In a startup, this is not the case. Right now, you create an email template for your newsletter, in one hour you will be creating content for the social media channels, and tomorrow you will be designing leaflets for your next offline campaign.

You Can Test Your Theories

According to Alec McGuirre, Co-Founder of CareersBooster “A small company is the perfect place to test your theories. If you think a certain type of content will lead to better results, you can create and implement it. You don’t need permission from 20 other people higher in company’s hierarchy.”

You can A/B test different approaches towards your content creation process. This thing would be impossible in a big corporation because they have their content calendar and voice clearly defined.

You Will Become More Independent

In a big corporation, there’s always someone who can offer you the needed information. Your paid ads campaign is not having the required ROI, you can ask someone. In a small company, there’s nobody you can ask, you have to figure it out all by yourself. So, you start digging and digging until you find the suitable solution for your problem.

This way, you will become more independent, you will learn to find the solution all by yourself, instead of asking around. This is a skill that an intern hired in a big company won’t be able to develop as good as a startup intern.

Your Work Will Carry More Weight

I’ll give you an example of why the work you will be doing will carry more weight. You take care of the online marketing part of the business. You’ve just created 3 new articles and you programmed them to be published over the week. Those three articles increased the company’s blog posts count by 20%. If you were working in a big company 3 articles wouldn’t have been so important because three articles would’ve been a 1-2% increase.

Will See How a Company Works

If you work in a big company, you are a bit isolated in terms of interdepartmental communication. You don’t get to talk to people in Financial Department, HR, or any other department, so often. Meanwhile, when working in a startup, the entire HR department is the girl right next to you, company’s marketing department is the guy who also takes care of sales.

By having them so close, you are able to find lots of information about how the company works. The information you find out will help you out a lot when you will start your own company.


College is the period when you need to gather as much information as possible for you to be prepared for your future professional career. Also, is the time when you need to make the first steps towards your first real job. When choosing between a startup or a big corporation, go through this list. You will understand why you should choose a startup.

Written By

Eva Wislow is a Career Coach from Pittsburgh, PA. Eva has a degree in Psychology and she is focusing on helping people break down their limits, find a dream job and achieve life and career success.

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