Millennial, Startups

3 Things I Learned Through My Internship at a Startup

My internship with a lead generation startup began on a whim and quickly turned into one of the best decisions I made in my master’s.

Sapper Consulting uses highly-targeted sourcing and witty email content to get high-quality meetings for its clients. As an MBA student with a marketing concentration, it seemed like a perfect fit. But I had one hesitation. Email lead-generation sounded, well, a little boring.

However, jumping into a startup that had just launched an initiative to grow the company 3.5x in only 3.5 months was anything but boring.

My three favorite things about interning at Sapper:

 

The opportunities to acquire new skills and responsibilities are endless.

I quickly realized few learning experiences are out of reach at a startup. In other positions, I felt confined by a job description or by a rigid hierarchy. But at Sapper, the initiative for rapid growth and its organizational structure dramatically leveled the playing field.

I honed my analytical skills through mining data for business insights and creating reports for clients. And after only a few months, my background in marketing allowed me to extend into creating and implementing social strategies. I ran digital marketing campaigns and expanded both our Twitter and Instagram followings, things that I never imagined I would be able to do as an intern. The leadership at Sapper gave me as much responsibility interning as I had in previous full-time positions. I had ownership. I made an impact.

 

The culture is one of a kind.

Perhaps this is true of many startups, but I found the culture at Sapper to be a perfect blend of hustle and fun. Everyone puts in the hard work to get the wins. But the team always finds time to celebrate.

From the weekly spirit award to ping pong tournaments to the endless supply of food and caffeinated beverages, Sapper creates an environment and culture that I hate to leave. To top it all off, I see the CEO every day. He even met with me one-on-one to ask for feedback about my experience here. For the guy who runs the show to truly value my opinion meant a lot.

 

Speaking of which, feedback is abundant.

In my previous positions, I craved more feedback and opportunities to grow. People have always been too busy or not well-enough informed of my duties to give me feedback.

Sapper bakes feedback directly into the culture. Each week, the entire team participates in a feedback session. Admittedly, it feels a little strange to announce before an entire company who you appreciate that week. However, it’s this weekly practice that makes feedback seem so natural. Everyone on the team wants both the company to grow and you to develop professionally.

In the end, my internship allowed me to put everything I was learning in my master’s immediately into practice. I would encourage all students to take advantage of a startup internship opportunity during school. Or, if any old internship won’t do, reach out to Sapper. Tell them Genna sent you.

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