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How Internships Compare to Startups

Why are you here? What are you doing? What do you bring to the table? What am I going to work on today that will add value and be a useful tool for the company, team, or individual workers? These are things I ask myself when starting a new work day.

It’s not always easy to find an impactful project as an intern. But I learned this week that any project, large or small, somehow contributes to a bigger picture. And knowing that your work matters somehow in the Grand Scheme of Things is a huge confidence booster for interns.

When I started early last week, I was given a list of things to work on. I have had large projects like editing the website to small projects like making a list of procedures. There are many things I am learning, but also teaching to the other employees. Most people don’t think an intern knows much of anything useful, but this generation of students is coming into the workforce with technical knowledge and a unique perspective that companies should be taking advantage of.

For example, the startups in America are growing and growing fast. According to Inc., there are now over 27 million entrepreneurs in the U.S. and many of those expect to employ 20 or more people in the next few years. How is this possible? The millennials are taking charge of their career and innovating every industry imaginable.

How does an internship relate to a startup? It’s simple. Students are learning the structure of an established company, doing the nitty gritty tasks that no one else wants to do, and utilizing their skills to create something that older generations can’t. A startup is like an internship scaled up to a much larger size. The entrepreneur is innovating something because no one else has or is able to. This person is doing every task from building relationships to writing the company blogs. And most importantly, he or she is building a company culture from the ground up.

As an intern at Kuzneski, I am getting to meet and network with people running these startups through Pittsburgh-based incubators and connecting the dots between my studies and the real world. The work itself within my program is fulfilling and teaches me something daily. But the real value of an internship is finding the best-fitting path. Within two weeks, I already have a better idea of what I want to do. No matter what your role is in a company, there’s always room for improvement and aspiration.