Pros and Cons of Being a Marketing Intern at a Startup

This post was written by Rosanna Wang, MABC’s Publicity Chair and CSOM senior.

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A Snapchat I sent in an attempt to make my friends jealous

I started out as a marketing intern at an edtech startup with about 20 employees back in May of 2015. I loved the people so much that I extended my internship through my junior year and into the following summer. I had my last day there a week ago, and thought I would share my takeaways from being a marketing intern at a startup.

Pros:

  • The people who work at startups tend to be quite wonderful. They’re passionate and enthusiastic and really care about helping you learn and grow.
  • There tends to be quite a bit of flexibility. Since my commute over the summer was an hour and a half long, I chose to work from home two days a week. My hours were completely flexible as well. Some days I showed up at 9am, other days I didn’t arrive until 11am. We also had unlimited vacation days, so long as our work got completed.
  • It’s easy to branch out and try other things – relatively speaking. I started out writing blog posts and running social media, but showed an interest in web design. With the support of my coworkers, I learned HTML and CSS and picked up the task of designing web pages and landing pages for the company.
  • There are a lot of aspects to marketing, and being at a small company lets you try out many different types of marketing. You can dabble in content marketing, customer acquisition, ad design, and possibly even more.
  • You get to make a real impact. Your performance will directly affect the company’s bottom line, which can be incredibly rewarding knowing that your hard work is actually making the company or the product better.

Cons:

  • You get to make a real impact: although it can be great when you succeed, it’s still a lot of pressure! And sometimes, ideas don’t always pan out and it can be disappointing knowing that time or money was spent on something that didn’t result to anything.
  • There’s instability. You really can’t take anything for granted. During the year and a quarter I spent at my internship, I had 2 direct supervisors leave and 3 get let go. It gets stressful and confusing, and it can be sad as well.
  • Working long hours can be common. There’s a ton of work to be done to achieve growth, yet not nearly enough employees. You work the typical hours at the office, but it’s very common to go home and continue working until late at night. And, I’d constantly found myself working over the weekend as well.
  • The pay isn’t great. If you have friends working at hedge funds, you might cry a little bit on the inside knowing they make more in a week than you do in two months.

Overall, the experience is phenomenal for growth and experience, and I would definitely suggest that everybody try working at a startup at least once while they’re still young. When you’re still young, the pros easily outweigh the cons.

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