Why Every College Student Should Intern at a Startup Instead of a Large Corporation

Start-ups are a great opportunity for interns to know the big picture, understand the business and look at the nuances of what the customers deal with

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The internship is an important stepping stone for college students who are considering joining a full-time career after graduation. It helps students enhance the job skills and knowledge that can be applied to future jobs. Last year, the Union Human Resource Development Minister Prakash Javadekar said at the Lok Sabha that it will now be mandatory for engineering students across the country to be involved in at least three internships in the duration of their course during the academic year.The responsibility will be on the institute to help students find a suitable industry for the internship. For a college student, landing an internship in a big company is challenging. Rather than joining a big establishment, students must always consider interning at a startup. If you are a college grad, startups are the best place to intern because you gain an immense amount of first-hand experience and face overall practical training.


Entrepreneur India spoke to experts to know a few reasons why college students should take the plunge and intern at a startup:

Understanding Customer Requirements:

According to Shashank Jain, CEO, Presto, start-ups present a great opportunity for interns to know the big picture, understand the business and look at the nuances of what the customers deal with. Corporations make it too silo-ed, one may never get to see how he/she affects the customers for a really long time.

"The start-up environment utilizes your existing skills to the fullest, and at the same time uses the opportunity of stepping into areas that are adjacent, uncomfortable, and sometimes aspirational. You might be writing code one day and helping with the customer support the other day. In the early parts of the journey, when core strengths are not obvious, this is a huge asset for students in exploring the right fit between skills, competence, and aspirations," shared Jain.

Get Better Understanding of How a Company Works:

A regular misconception amongst youngsters is that interning at large corporations will yield better growth opportunities for them. Nibhrant Shah, Founder and CEO of Isprava feels as start-ups are leading every industry, this perception is gradually changing.

"While working at a large corporation or MNC may make one look good on the CV, there are multiple perks and practical skill development involved with working at a startup. Working at a startup would give you a better understanding of how a company works from the grass root level. At a large company, your exposure is restricted to the small portion of work that you are handling directly and with so many people working, there is no effective exposure to the other parts of the business. Whereas in a startup, there is a lot more responsibility which helps you learn across various verticals and enhance multiple skills through practical training," said Shah.

Shah also emphasized that interning at a startup also allows students to learn from not just the other team members but also the founders and top management which play an integral role in developing the foundation.

Gain Maximum Exposure and Learning Opportunity :

Sandesh Kangod, Co-founder and CEO, Workflexi.in believes with a start-up, the learning and exposure are abundant. Also, there are various avenues that college students can leverage.

" For students, it is very important to know what one is good at. The process of large corporations is already a set one. Many a times, it requires human skills to adhere to it. The potential to learn is minimal and the exposure is limited," said Kangod.

For, Veni Nair, Assistant Director, ITM Business School , Navi Mumbai, startups provide an overall multi-functional learning opportunity. Nair added that at a startup, the college interns get an opportunity to get involved right from strategy to operational level.