What makes an internship at a start up different

Every college student and post-grad can recognize the importance of a summer internship and I am lucky enough to have had the opportunity to intern at a variety of different companies. As I reach the end of what will most likely be my last internship ever (I am graduating college in December), I am looking back to reflect on the many differences between an internship with an internet automotive start up like Mojo Motors and an internship with a much larger company.

The Experience

My previous work experience has included law firms and an advertising agency that were all much larger and more established than Mojo Motors. At each of these companies, my experience was confined solely to one department with consistently similar responsibilities. The beauty about an internship at a company like Mojo Motors is that I have had the ability to work on different projects in different areas of the company, which has given me a much broader and more thorough sense of the future goals and day-to-day operations of the company.

I have done significant work in both marketing and sales, but I have also always been available to help with projects of any kind; this has made me significantly more invested in the overall success of the business, instead of simply focused on accomplishing goals in one category. Variation in intern responsibilities not only makes the job more interesting, but also makes you a more significant part of the team. This also gives you, as the intern, more access to all the people and parts of the company, which you wouldn’t get as a cog in a much larger wheel. This sounds like a great thing, and it is; but make sure you get along well with your coworkers.

Office Culture

Whether or not you’ll get along with coworkers is a somewhat difficult thing to determine before starting work, but is extremely important at a small startup like Mojo. All members of the team interact with each other on a daily basis. This close working environment fosters friendly relationships and a positive feeling around the office, but can lead to problems if there are outliers who do not get along. It is key for any perspective intern to ask in the interview about the company’s culture and make sure that you will fit in. This seems somewhat trivial, but a cohesive office environment is key for a small startup. When everyone gets along and works together, everyone is more committed to one goal – the growth and success of the business.

Here at Mojo there is constant banter between coworkers, generally sports related or of a hilarious nature. We frequently have full-team lunches and afternoon coffee breaks. Also, the Mojo Motors fantasy football league is set to begin its inaugural season, which will undoubtedly raise the level of friendly competitiveness. All of the aspects of the positive work environment at Mojo not only make working here very enjoyable but foster increased production.

Business Start Up Casual

Another note about environment and culture: for many small start ups, although this is a generalization, the workplace atmosphere and dress code are somewhat relaxed; HOWEVER, there are still rules and norms that must be respected. DO NOT view a laid-back company as a place where you can shirk your responsibilities. At any successful start up, no matter how relaxed the environment is, the work must be done. If you cannot stay diligent and complete your responsibilities in a less-than-rigid environment, a star tup may not be the place for you. That said, I firmly believe that interning at a small-sized start up like Mojo Motors is an invaluable experience for anyone. The time I have spent working for Mojo Motors has been significantly more enjoyable than all of my other internships, and I have also gained much more valuable experience and training here at Mojo than in my other internships combined. I could not more strongly recommend an internship at a company like Mojo Motors.

Andrew Rolfe was a two-time summer intern at Mojo Motors. He enjoys muffins, iced coffee from this place and sports of every variety. He hopes to start a career in broadcast sports journalism following his graduation at Franklin and Marshall.