Working for a startup might mean putting in long hours as you prepare to woo new investors and, eventually, new customers. But it also means being involved in the creation of something brand new, creating tangible results. Some MBA interns at startups have actually been a part of pitching their company to investors. Also, if you land at an organization that finds success, you will have a lot of stories to share and potentially a full-time role to return to down the road.
Further, you can get some of the best transferable skills from interning at a startup! Because these organizations are as lean as possible, you will likely have the chance to try your hand at many different parts of the business. Remember, though, interning at a startup might not be right for you if you need a lot of structure. To thrive in an environment like this, you’ll need to jump right in without a net and enthusiastically volunteer to work on projects that interest you – or to create entirely new projects if you see a need for them. You’ll need to be ready to go way outside your comfort zone.
Another factor to consider is compensation. The good news is that unpaid internships are generally recognized to be a bad idea. The bad news is that startups, even though they want to offer fair compensation, may not have the resources that established companies do. In this case, consider negotiating for equity in exchange for that lower salary. To get an idea of what full-time employees are taking home in salary and equity, try using Wealthfront’s compensation calculator; and when it’s time to begin negotiations, you can find some great tips in this story.