Blog post by Natalia Sanchez (Industrial & Operations Engineering | Class of 2022) Interning at Shoptelligence in Ann Arbor

Even though startups are considered high-risk jobs due to the lack of stableness that comes with the territory, there are many benefits from interning at them, and the experience can be worthwhile. Here are the top five benefits of interning at a startup that I see.

1) There’s much to do and much to learn

Given that a typical startup doesn’t have that many employees, there’s usually much to do and, as a byproduct, much to learn. Everyone who works there will wear many hats, as the saying goes. Even though it might be a little annoying to have to work on a project that might not coincide with the reason you were hired, you can always gain something from the experience. There’s also the possibility of you finding a position that’s better suited to your goals and expectations because you had to step out of your comfort zone and work on something else. Because of that, this benefit goes to the top of the list.

2) You feel like a bigger piece of the puzzle

There are, without a doubt, many benefits to working at big companies, but there’s also a sense of “feeling little” that can come from it. When you’re at a startup, there can be two, 10, 18 or so employees. Everything that everyone does is extremely important, so that sense of “feeling little” is nonexistent. Feeling like a bigger piece of the puzzle makes working at a startup special.

3) It can be easier to rise through the ranks

On a similar note, since there are less employees, it can also be easier to gain positions of high caliber and responsibility. That’s not to say it might not be easy at a bigger company or that a similar position at a startup is less respectable; it just that based on the numbers the probability for one employee to wear the title of CEO, CFO, CTO can be higher at a company with less workers than at a company with more. 

4) There doesn’t have to be a divide between the different teams

Some startups catch traction at incubators and accelerators, which usually give the companies desks or rooms in a designated building that’s filled with other startups. Most often then not, the entire (or most of the) team is packed together, so that everyone is working together. There isn’t such a big divide between the business, engineering, marketing, sales, and human resources, among other branches, of the company. This can lead to the development of great ideas due to the amalgamation of so many different points of views.

5) It’s exhilarating

Startups provide a working environment like no other. Sure, there’s no such thing as complete certainty anywhere, but in startups in specific, people thrive in that risk. It’s exhilarating, and fun, and addicting. On top of that, if the idea sticks, the scalability and profit gained could be unlike any other job.

As I stated before, there are pros and cons to any job and position. Hopefully, this blog persuaded you to at least consider a job or internship a startup. It’s more than just fun, and there’s so much to learn that regardless of what happens, you’ll never forget the experience.

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