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Develop Entrepreneurial Skills with Startup Internships

Here, there are 4 major entrepreneurial skills that you could learn while interning with a startup -

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If you have done your B.Tech. in mechanical engineering, and want to go for an M.Tech. with a specialisation in automobile engineering, then you can do an internship in an automobile industry and understand if that is your true calling or not. Wikimedia

Suyash Jain, a BBA in retail management student of UPES, Dehradun, didn’t want to sit idle during his vacations and decided to do an internship in the first year itself. He went to an online portal and started applying to multiple internships. Since he didn’t have any previous work experience or any job-specific skills, he faced a lot of rejections before he was finally shortlisted for a marketing internship in a startup. After a telephonic interview with the HR, he was hired for the two-month internship. Since it was a startup, he was needed to handle multiple responsibilities ranging from marketing and business development to blogging and social media marketing. This gave him an exposure to various aspects of a business as well as helped him learn a diverse range of skills including marketing, customer relationship management, graphic designing, and a bit of coding.

While working closely with the core team of the startup, he even developed many entrepreneurial skills like creativity, critical thinking, problem solving, self-reliance, and team building, which later helped him launch his own startup. Being an active student who liked to participate in extracurricular activities, attend workshops, and competitions, he found out that students don’t have enough resources to find out about the events being held in the city and end up missing out on some good opportunities. He saw a problem there and decided to solve it. This resulted in InstaKhoj – a website aiming to promote competitions and events in Dehradun.

Just like Suyash, with an internship, you could also do a crash course in entrepreneurship. You can learn these skills during any internship that gives you a corporate exposure. However, the probability of picking up these entrepreneurial skills will be higher in startups. You would ask, how? Well, startups usually have a flat hierarchy where you often get to work closely with the core team on projects that has a straight impact on the users, thus learn directly from the accomplished entrepreneurs and professionals in a real-time environment.

Here, I have listed 4 major entrepreneurial skills that you could learn while interning with a startup –

  • Leadership – Goals are achieved with focused team efforts and this could only happen with a thought leadership that knows how to take everyone together and utilise every resource and talent in the most optimal way possible. Leadership is not limited to heading a team and delegating work. Instead, it includes a diverse range of aspects from team building and management to staying self-motivated and keeping your team motivated too. While interning at a startup, you get to observe leaders closely and you might even get a chance to lead a team of your own.
Internships can help you achieve the same as it allows you to explore your options so that you can take an informed decision and go further about it. Wikimedia
  • Communication and interpersonal skills – An entrepreneur needs to be highly proficient in every kind of communication with all the stakeholders. This involves having good observation and listening skills, writing skills for emails, reports, and proposals, negotiation skills, ability to delegate work and deal with conflicts while being fair. In a startup, you often work on multiple projects and coordinate with team members having different mindsets and coming from diverse work backgrounds. You sometimes have to face a difference of opinion with a team member or any other technical setback. Here, while resolving these problems, you develop a positive attitude and patience and learn to communicate your views in an ideal manner.
  • Flexibility – It is extremely important for an entrepreneur to be flexible in her business plans and decisions. Optimism, risk tolerance, and acceptance of failure are the 3 major parts of being flexible. In simple words, an entrepreneur must be able to handle failure, redefine her goals, redesign her plans as per the changing market needs, willing to take risks, and keep going. Startups keep on exploring new concepts and this gives you an opportunity to understand and pick up this skill by working on such projects.

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  • Critical thinking – As an entrepreneur, you must be able to recognise opportunities, analyse the problems, plan a creative solution, and take critical decisions for this is the only way a business could grow. During internships, many a time, you are expected to come up with new project ideas, conduct analysis and plan their execution thus helping you inculcate creativity, critical thinking, and problem solving abilities.

Courtesy: Sarvesh Agrawal is the founder  and CEO of Internshala, an internships and trainings platform (internshala.com)

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Discover Your True Calling With Internships

Choosing the right career could be a tricky thing to do. Here, internships can prove to be tremendously helpful by letting you explore your options in a real-time professional environment

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virtual internship
There is a way that can make your career break productive and keep you near your professional life. Pixabay

Apoorv Shivhare, a student of Shaheed Bhagat Singh College, understood the importance of hands-on experience and therefore, started pursuing internships right from the beginning of his college journey. He did internships in different profiles like accountancy, data entry, business development, and market research. However, he was yet to find his true calling, which is why he decided to pursue his fifth internship. It was an HR internship with a reputed organisation.

During this internship, he learned about various aspects of human resource management ranging from recruitment and tracking employee records to handling employee grievances. He picked up various new skills and gained confidence but most importantly, developed a keen interest in the field and thus decided to pursue his career in the human resource management.

Apoorv knew what path to take in order to explore his options and choose the right career for himself. However, a lot of students in India face a lack of such awareness and often struggle to find the best career fit for themselves and sometimes, end up making a wrong career decision. Wondering what could be the reason behind this, I came to a conclusion that absence of proper guidance and the pressure to take a career decision at an early stage of life could be the major causes for this.

So, as a student who is confused about making the right career choice, what could you do about it? Well, in order to make the right career decision, you first need to know where your true interests lie and then, if you have the aptitude to pursue it. It is possible that you are not aware of your interests and even if you are, you don’t really know about the kind of professions you could go for in that particular field.

Choosing the right career could be a tricky thing to do. Here, internships can prove to be tremendously helpful by letting you explore your options in a real-time professional environment. Now, the question is ‘why internships’? Here’s why:

  • Internships are short-term – Internships are short term in nature that is, they only require work commitment for a short-term duration that could range from 2 weeks to 6 months. This provides you with the opportunity to get practical experience in the field on a trial basis so that you try and test a career before you ultimately decide to pursue it on a permanent basis. For instance, your interests could lie in more than one fields say content writing, digital marketing, and human resources. Here, what you can do is pursue 2-3 month long internships in each domain and see which one meets your expectations and decide on the career path you want to pursue.
Internships can help you achieve the same as it allows you to explore your options so that you can take an informed decision and go further about it. Wikimedia
  • Flexible working options – Internships often come with flexible working options (part-time and work-from-home) that allows you to try and test different professions along with managing your college attendance and studies. Not only this, by having flexible working hours, you also have the option to pursue two internships at one time. This way, you could save your time and learn about 2 different fields side-by-side plus you could earn stipend from both of them and can get a sense of self-reliance. For example, you could pursue an internship in content writing and another in human resources – managing both as per your daily schedule.
  • Do not require up-to-date skills – Unlike in the case of jobs, to get an internship, you don’t necessarily need to have a degree or sharpened and up-to-date skills. In fact, internships provide you with an opportunity to polish your existing skills and get them up-to-date as per industry standards. You could still pursue an internship even if you are a first year student of say, computer science engineering and do not possess any knowledge in web development, mobile app development, or software development but have basic programming knowledge.
  • Real-time exploration – Internships offer you with the opportunity to test drive a career that is, it lets you get a gist of the domain in real time working environment – how the industry works, does it meets your expectations, what are the current practices and what skills are required as per the current industry standards. For example, if you are doing a digital marketing internships, you’ll learn various aspects of digital marketing like social media marketing, email marketing, and content marketing. Plus, you’ll learn how much creativity and effort goes into planning various campaigns as well as making marketing strategies.

Also Read- Learn Internet of Things: Create Your Own Smart Home

So, discerning your real calling with internship experiences could turn out to be exceptionally useful. It could especially help you in avoiding a future situation where you might find yourself stuck in a tedious 9 to 5 job dreaming about all the other careers which you could have pursued instead only if you had made an informed decision.

Courtesy: Sarvesh Agrawal is the founder and CEO of Internshala – an internship and training platform (internshala.com)