Why intern at a startup?

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Why intern at a startup?

As a final year student of BBA at KUSOM, I often hear my fellow classmates talk about working as an intern in a startup company rather than in a bigger firm. Startups are booming in the market today and getting a chance to work in one is making more sense.

Looksharp, an employment agency in California, conducted an online survey to ask college students about their choice on working at a startup or a large company, and most of the respondents chose to work at startups. The trend looks to be reciprocated in Nepal as well.

While the association with big names in the market might look good in your CV and become a matter of pride at social gatherings, in case of working in a startup, you will find yourself explaining about the company you work for quite often. The way I see it, you’re refining your pitching skills than merely talking about your CV. Your experience at a startup can be more valuable than at a bigger firm, especially when you are stepping into the workforce of today.


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You learn a great deal

With the amount of workload and responsibilities at a startup, you will get to learn a lot more than at a bigger firm. Working at a startup gives you more practical experience. You see the inner workings of the entire company and get a closer look at the different roles needed to keep a company going. The skills you learn at startups are more likely to be of use in the future too.Ojaswi Baidya, a former intern at Sattya Media Arts Collective says, “At Sattya, it was a flood of learning opportunities. I learned a lot about managing a business and developing your own network. Working there gave me a lot of confidence in handling these as well which will definitely help me in the future.”


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You are entitled to a pool of responsibilities

You wear different hats of responsibilities while working at a startup than in a bigger firm. A common experience among interns in big firms, as shared by former bank interns Merina Shrestha and Bimarsh Raj Giri, is that your responsibilities are limited to simple, repetitive tasks like making photocopies and arranging files. But in a startup, you will also be involved in decision making processes, along with the repetitive tasks. Merina had a better experience working as an intern at Picovico, “I was given major responsibilities and my colleagues helped a lot. It was a better experience than at the bank.”

Startups require all hands on deck, especially at an early growth stage. Given that you have proven your capabilities and are sincere in your intentions, you will have real responsibilities at a startup with a sizeable workload which can directly affect the firm entrusted to you. You will be able to gain ownership of important projects while making contributions as an integral part of the organisation. Ronesh Karki shares from his experience of working at a growing startup: “It is wise to do internship at a startup than at a big firm. Big firms have a working system already in place and there is less room for flexibility and innovation. Startups are in the infant stage and you get a chance to take initiatives and have an important role in building the system.”


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You experience personal development

As an intern at a startup, your opinions are valued more than in a bigger firm. Deependra Sanjyal, a graduate from KUSOM who left his internship at a big firm within a month’s time, says, “You will just be a small unnoticeable part of a huge machine at big firms.” The case is different in case of a startup. You will be part of a dynamic and enthusiastic work environment in a startup. Rather than just an intern you will be seen as a co-worker and urged to voice your opinions. You are encouraged to explore your creative and innovative work tactics. You will be a valuable member of the team hence grow as a professional.

“At startups, interns’ ideas could be valued and further given a chance to explore them. With the entire organization at its embryonic stage, the entrepreneurs look into fresh and innovative ideas and concepts, thus creating numerous growth opportunities,” shares Prarambha Dahal, an MBA student KUSOM.


You will build your network

While sharing common vision in a startup is a common ground, there may not be better opportunities to develop your network than in a startup. You could share two large pizzas among the team at a startup and they’d be full. As it is a small team, you get to connect with your team mates while sharing a good laugh over some silly incident at lunch. This gives everyone an opportunity to know each other at a personal level. You also have more interaction with the people in charge. The connections you make at a startup can also become great business contacts. According to Manisha Joshi, an MBA student at KUSOM, “You are in touch with even the chief at startups. You get the opportunity to build PR (personal relations). And networking is always important.”


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The choice boils down to your need

Despite all this, your choice to intern at a startup or a larger firm depends on your need. Ila Poudel, a former intern at Nepal Bangladesh Bank, says “If the need to learn is strong, then startups would be great. But if the need is for recognition and greater pay, bigger companies would be the choice.”

It is no surprise that working at a startup doesn’t usually pay well, if at all. But startups are rewarding in a different way. The learning you receive, the opportunities you seize, the experience you have and the growth you make from working at a startup is unbeatable. If you have considered interning at a startup, then find one that will match your fit, get your applications in, and give it a shot.




  • Guest
    Chandan Sunday, 30 July 2017

    Do you list of sartup that gives intern opportunity.

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