Undergraduate Blog / Career Development

The Reality of Working at a Startup

The days of falling in the crowd are over. When working with a startup, you can expect to be right at the front lines with everyone else. Most college students aim for internships with big corporations like Google or Amazon. But, it’s the underdogs that provide a more valuable experience. 

Taking Responsibility

Working with a big company, you are likely to not make an impact on the bottom line. The startup world requires interns to take on notable tasks and create their own goals and opportunities. My internship allows me to create content that is directly displayed on all their social media platforms, and company website. They also allow their interns to design and carry out marketing campaigns, outline projects, and suggest ideas. It is clear that I’m making a direct impact on the company and further defining their culture and brand. Your work carries great weight, and it gives you a chance to take responsibility.

Interns also play an essential role in defining the early stages of the startup. As the business grows, interns will be able to see the impact of their work early on in nurturing the organization. It’s likely the company will still be using your presentation templates, marketing campaigns to grow the customer base, and your developing ideas. You can truly see how you’re part of the bigger picture and vital to the success of the company. 

Career Advancement

At a startup, you create your own goals. A big name internship may boost your chances of a job out of college, but a startup internship will equip you with the skills necessary to succeed at that new job. This is because employees don’t have defined roles within a startup, it seems everyone is wearing multiple hats. Interns are able to learn a bit of everything, from doing financial analysis one day, to graphic design the next. Coming out of an internship like this, individuals will be set up for success. 

Career Goals

Startup interns are exposed to a variety of different fields, and are able to explore their interests. This will help you decide early on, exactly what interests you and what doesn’t. The more authentic and involved the experience, the easier it will be to define your career prospects out of college. 


At a startup, you truly get to talk to everyone. Your mentor will most likely be the a vital person to the company, and a great person to learn from. Working with upper management at such a young age will provide you with great opportunities. Interns are likely working with the founders and CEO on the daily, absorbing entrepreneurial thinking as a side effect. 

Startups have a lot more to offer students than they think, better preparing them with the experience needed for the workforce. The growth and accomplishments you experience in this environment are worth a whole lot more than a brand name on your resume.