Interning. Everyone has to do it. As the cycle of student life goes, you have to have experience to get experience. Having previously interned at a nation wide university and sports event company, the choice to intern at a tech real estate start up seems to be a step in a different direction, so let’s look at the differences.
Large companies stick to their guns and follow protocol, they have plans set up for a reason because they have been tried and tested multiple times and they rely on the history of the company to achieve its success. Start-ups don’t have their own history to rely on and that is why as an intern at a start up I am always being asked for my opinion. We don’t know everything; we simply have the blueprints of a plan. We have a lot of knowledge about the market that we are in, but business isn’t a copy and paste scenario, the same things don’t work for every company, and most of the time when it comes to start ups they are going against the traditional norms anyway.
Being at a start up is a learn as you go process. Most of my days are spent seeing what works and what doesn’t. Having only been at Openn for a couple of weeks we have tried many different methods of communication with both current and potential clients, everything from cold calling to mail outs, just seeing what methods are the most productive and give us the best results. I have also been able to upload more digital content including blogs and success stories to the site, as well as adding content to the site through
Obviously any intern will do a lot of things at a company, everything from coffee runs and photocopying to writing content for websites. However I think when interning at a start up you definitely have your finger in a lot more pies. During the last couple of weeks I have been a small test audience, a proof-reader, a content creator, a communication specialist, a messenger, a sales representative and many more. You are a general dogsbody expected to be good at a variety of things and play a variety of roles.
When working for a big company you feel as if you are just one tiny star out there in the galaxy. There you are slogging away in the office, achieving all of these great things and only the few people around you know about it. When you are working at a start-up. It seems like everyone knows what you’re working on, mainly because you are all in the exact same office. But working in a closer team allows you to bond more and form stronger relationships compared to when there are many tiers of management. Also as a specialised eavesdropper I know about loads of things that are happening across the whole company just from sitting in the office.
You are held to great lengths of accountability at a start up compared to a larger business. When there is a higher risk, if things go well there is a higher reward or if things don’t go well a lower low. You can’t hide in a small team, you are out in the open without a tree to hide behind. Whilst it is great as an intern that I get more attention and work directly with my supervisors, if I make a mistake it is hard to explain because I could of just asked for help.
I have learnt a lot of skills at both internships, and received a lot of ideas and advice that I know will equip me for the future. I think having the experience of working at two opposing ends of the spectrum gives me a well-rounded view of the types of businesses I will encounter in the future.