The role of an intern is always up for debate. Most of the time an internship turns into a document running, coffee grabbing, and mess cleaning waste of a few months. I cannot tell you how many friends I have had who have been so excited to intern at a major company, only to come back after the summer is over with almost no new experience or knowledge of how the company works. That is why I chose to take a different path and intern with a startup.
I was lucky enough to be invited to intern during the summer of 2014 with LionsMouth Digital (LMD), and I gladly jumped at the opportunity. Yet I had no idea what I was going to be doing. I am familiar with what LionsMouth does (CRO, web design, etc.) and as an entrepreneurship major I am knowledgeable about how a startup should theoretically run, but I have never actually worked within such a venture. The actual business was much more chaotic, yet organized than I could have imagined.
My first day on the job, I sat down at a large table in a large hallway in a building that was still partially under construction. This was the company office. From there, I began to develop my own goals for the internship, industry best practices, and a list of clients I was going to contact. Ok, so I was going to be a sales force. LMD creates great value for businesses, so I didn’t think it would be hard to sell it to businesses. As I began to make phone calls and network, I was tasked with developing a marketing strategy and launch tactics for re-branding the site. I guess I am now a marketing intern? Wait, I am learning how to build and test websites! A development job! I even ran numbers and ROI for different prospective clients and personally introduced the company to others. The point is that I have had to learn and perform almost every crucial function necessary for this business to run. And better than that, my boss has never asked me to get him coffee.
Obviously interning at a new company seems to be vastly different than at a major firm, and in the best possible way. I have gained great experience with LMD and have been given more responsibility than I expected, leading me to even more learning and building confidence in business development. Don’t get me wrong, I am sure that there are big corporations out there that offer great experience to interns, but none of them will offer the chance to participate in every aspect of the business and be treated as an actual employee with responsibility. I would recommend to everyone who is looking for an experience-based temporary position to search far and wide for a startup to intern with.