Startup Internships: Why More Students Are Choosing Them

Choosing between large organization or a startup internships seems clear-cut when analyzing your options. It’s not only you; most students gravitate toward companies with big names and thousands of employees. After all, who wouldn’t want Google, Procter, or Apple’s name on their resume? 

However, a startup internship has many more benefits than you might have thought. Working in smaller companies, especially startups, can give you more learning and growth opportunities when you start your career. 

Here are seven excellent reasons why you must intern at a startup:


What is a Startup?

Encompassing anything from sole founders with no staff to some of the world’s largest tech companies – the definition of ‘startup’ is fairly broad.

However, we can define a startup as a company that:

  • Is in the seed stage/early stage of business development
  • Has fewer than three founders and is mostly self-funded or seeks venture capital from banks or investors
  • Is focused primarily on growth

Moreover, startups also operate a little differently than other well-established companies. Startups aspire to bring something new to the market. On the other hand, multinational corporations (MNCs) are founded with the intention of being entrepreneurial and catering to local demand. 

Companies like Grammarly, Airtable, and LinkedIn (the list goes on) started as small startups that dared to think differently. Our company, Virtual Internships, is also a startup. We were ranked as one of Europe’s 100 Edtech Startups in 2020 by Holon IQ.

Now, with that out of the way, let’s dive into the top seven reasons why thousands of students opt for startup internships every year


Develop an Entrepreneurial Spirit

Most startups are formed to achieve something truly disruptive. That’s why contributing even a little to the journey of an innovative business can give you your career’s most valuable experience.

Furthermore, as you start the hunt for your job, you’ll see many job descriptions and advertisements frequently expressing a preference for applicants with “experience working in a high-growth business environment,” aka startups.

Businesses value startup interns because they know – when you work directly with the founders on projects ( as 70% of our interns do), you learn crucial entrepreneurial qualities like taking calculated risks, critical thinking, optimism, leadership, team management, and the perseverance to make things happen.


It’s a True Learning Experience

Startups, unlike MNCs, function on flat hierarchies and smaller teams. This makes it simple for mentors to pay personal attention to each intern and improve their learning experience.

Also, while at huge organizations, interns are often engaged in menial tasks like fetching coffee and data entry (a sad reality), startup interns work on essential projects from conception through planning and execution.

If you are experienced enough or work well, you can even get the chance to manage or coach a group of fellow interns.


Let’s You Try on Multiple Hats

If you are unsure which career would be the best fit for you, startup internships might be the way to go. Being a small team member means that you will constantly work around different aspects of the business. This may include developing a marketing strategy, researching, creating business plans, or helping build a website.

Most startups actively ensure that all the team members, employees, and interns alike, stay in the loop (something extremely rare in larger organizations).

Therefore, interning at a startup will give you much-needed cross-team exposure to get a peek into different career paths. 


Easier to Rise Through the Ranks

A survey conducted by found that 74% of senior professionals prefer to work for a startup than in a large corporate. The reasons given by most respondents are salary, rate of growth, and the opportunity to climb the corporate ladder easily.

The same is true for startup interns. For example, one in every four VI interns gets offered a further opportunity at the end of their virtual internship, and 70% of our host companies are startups. Therefore, the chances of our interns landing a full-time role in a high-growth startup is enormous.


Build a Great Network

One great benefit of working in a startup with fewer employees is that you’ll have the chance to know everyone personally. These contacts can turn into a great professional network that helps you get your career off the ground.

Moreover, as the startup grows and becomes a huge organization, you will have contacts that can serve as your mentor or help you land better roles. 

Even if the startup you intern for doesn’t succeed, you’ll still have a network of great employers who can be valuable assets when seeking your next internship or job after graduation.

Whatever the case, it’s a win-win for you!


Learn Crucial Soft Skills

In addition to our earlier point, interning for a startup is a great chance to advance your professional skills while helping the company grow. 

True, it takes a lot of work: Startups typically lack keenly-mapped-out responsibilities for interns that big corporations might offer. However, the beauty is that every team member puts in hard work towards the same goal.

Additionally, most startup employees are encouraged to be creative and solve problems to produce the best possible result. Therefore, if you put in the effort, a startup can help you work and polish crucial soft and hard skills that will help you land better full-time roles after graduation.


Get Better Feedback 

Getting quick and insightful feedback from your peers and leaders is much easier in startups than in larger organizations. This is because you’ll work closely with your team and develop stronger relationships with your seniors.

When you work in a small team, everyone knows your accomplishments and drawbacks. However, the feedback you receive during your internship at startups can help you avoid makings the same mistakes. 

While one team member’s work may not significantly influence the entire company when working for a large corporation, your job matters with startups. Everything you do immediately affects the company’s success, and everyone’s performance counts.


Where Do You Find Startup Internships?

So there you have it, startup internships are now worth the hype. Now, the big question is: how can you land an internship at a startup?

With the ever-growing competition, getting an internship that adds value to your resume and boosts your employability skills is tough. Worry not; we’ve got your back! 

Virtual Internships provides guaranteed remote internships by connecting aspiring interns like you to innovative companies in over 150 countries. 

The best part: 70% of our virtual interns work directly with founders or CEOs. Plus, you may even land a full-time position after your internship if you perform well. How exciting would that be?

Ready to take the next step?

Apply Now

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