Top 5 Reasons Why College Students Should Intern at a Startup

Keen to intern over the summer? Then you’ll need to think carefully about the size and type of organization that you want to apply to. Sure, the prospect of interning at a Fortune-100 company may sound great when you hear about it at your college’s career fair, but when push comes to shove, you may feel as if you’re barely contributing to the way the business works.

On the other hand, if you apply to intern at a business that’s just starting out, you’re guaranteed to reap some of the many benefits which attend working at a smaller, newer organization(and you’ll have a better chance of actually landingan internship, to boot). Need any more convincing about why you should intern at a startup? Just keep reading.

An experience in startup can bring valuable networking

Superior networking opportunities

There’s a tendency to think of startup owners as little fish, but these ambitious individuals should not be underestimated. If you’re able to intern at an exciting startup wth a world-class individual at its head, you’ll be able to emerge from your summer boasting something that your Fortune-100 pals don’t have: that is, a strong relationship with one of the world’s up-and-coming entrepreneurs.

It’s not just the boss you’ll benefit from networking with, either. Startups tend to attract the hottest new talent, meaning that you’ll have a bevyof potential mentor figures close to hand.

Better work stories

We’ve all heard the Devil-Wears-Prada stories about interning at infamous corporations. Often, this dynamic arises because the company is simplytoo big to supply valuable work to a college intern. Your average Fortune 100 already has temps, and then assistants above them, and EAs above those, and so on in never-ending fashion. All the remotely-exciting tasks, in other words, are already covered by vast layers of employees.

You’ll face no such shortage of proper work in a startup. A startup – as the name suggests – is only just emerging onto the business scene, with loads of hard work ahead,and not enough people for it. That means that even interns will enjoy the opportunity to get stuck into workwith a direct impact on business operations.

Startup – Less formal working environment

Less formality

Startups are often located in a hip office spaces on the new side of town rather than in CBD high-rises, and you’re more likely to find employees lounging aroundthe office in their flip-flops than buttoned-up in suits and ties. So if you’re freaked out by corporate garb, stuffy boardroom meetings, and invisible rules that dictate every movement on the office floor, startups may be more suited to you than the typical company HQ.

Lower levels of bureaucracy

Another major perk of interning at a startup is that bureaucracy levels are low, or maybe zero. Established companies are stock-full of policies, rules, and HR, which means loads of paperwork and restriction in your working life. Avoid signing a thousand different codes of conduct by interning at a nascent business which has just the single layer of staff.

 A much more valuable learning experience

When it comes to choosing which internships to apply for, it pays to reflect on what kind of person you are, and who you want to be. Are you a follower, or are you an aspiring entrepreneur? If the latter sounds better to you, working at a startup will give you the start you need in the business world.

Startups will provide you with a steeper learning curve and more varied work, and you’ll come out of the summer with experience in multiple areas all the way from marketing to stakeholder management.


Johanna Cider enjoys her freelance writing career in beautiful Wellington, where she enjoys world-class coffee on the daily as well as jaw-dropping art galleries peppered through the capital city. Her creative work can be found on various sites and blogs, including local New Zealand businesses such as Fuso. Discover more of her work on Musings of Johanna.

Photo: Shutterstock

Support us!

All your donations will be used to pay the magazine’s journalists and to support the ongoing costs of maintaining the site.


paypal smart payment button for simple membership

Share this post

Interested in co-operating with us?

We are open to co-operation from writers and businesses alike. You can reach us on our email at and we will get back to you as quick as we can.

Where to next?

The Importance of Student Government in Education

Student government refers to a student-led organization within a school or university that is responsible for representing the interests, concerns, and needs of the student body to school administration and…