Nicole with Asad Butt, the Director of LearnLaunch
With an interest in business, we placed Nicole on a High School Internship followed by a College Internship.
Now that she completed her freshman year of college, we thought that she should gain exposure to what’s very current and exciting in the business world these days. Now that the concept of business startups has matured years beyond companies such as Facebook and Twitter, the business accelerator programs that foster these young companies are expanding rapidly on college campuses and cities around the world. One startup incubator in Boston is quite unique, its mission to help early-stage education technology companies bring their promising technology solutions successfully to market.
LearnLaunch provides seed funding, office space and mentorship for entrepreneurs who have been selected for their innovative ideas related to education technology. The culmination of their three-month program is the final presentation (Demo Day) to hundreds of angel investors and venture capitalists.
Words From Nicole’s Journal
In her journal, Nicole tells us what’s she’s been up to on her internship:
Conducted cohort interviews with the CEO’s about the program
Took notes from Cohort Pitches to Angel Investors
Created teacher and tech surveys, questionnaires, activities and flyer for Hackathon Event
Researched Edtech newsletters for relevant information
Organized Edtech Investments, company’s leads, contact list and cohort calendar
What has been the best part of your internship?
The best part of my internship has been doing work to prepare for all the events happening at LearnLaunchX, actually working at the events and meeting such a wide variety of business leaders and investors.
Can you describe a situation when you had to be a bit courageous during your internship?
After Demo Day, my boss wanted me to collect the cohort’s feedback about the event, as well as conduct interviews with them about their overall experience at LearnLaunchX. Since I didn’t know the participants very well yet, I was a little uncomfortable asking for their feedback about Demo Day. In addition, I had to create questions to ask the CEOs of each company about their thoughts on the program. I had never done anything like this before and I wasn’t sure what kind of questions to ask them because I didn’t know much about the program, but in spite of my reservations, it all went very smoothly.
Jon, a junior at Newton North High School, was a supervisor at a local tennis and squash club for the summer and wondered if he would be able to fit in an internship. We were able to establish a 3-day per week experience that was customized for his schedule.
We matched Jon to an early stage company in the messaging, communication and social media space. The Chief Technology officer and Co-founder wrote Jon’s letter of recommendation:
“Our enterprise is at the leading edge of technology, which matches well with Jon’s academic and professional interests. We were able to provide him with rapid-fire experience in business at the dead center of today’s challenges.
Jon’s ability to pick up new tasks and get stuff done was frankly amazing. He jumped right in and became part of the team, providing input to problems that we actually implemented.”
In his journal, Jon told us, “The more I worked as an intern, the more I became integrated into the actual world of a CEO. At one point, I gave him a suggestion from a different perspective and it turned out to work really well. I learned to be more confident and expressive with my own ideas.”
“An internship means an unparalleled opportunity to taste the professional world firsthand. It’s about actually experiencing an industry in its day-to-day function—rolling up your sleeves to take part. Interning doesn’t simply introduce you to discipline-specific skills: It can also be a major source of general inspiration. Working alongside your colleagues-for-a-season, you’re not just learning the ropes of a specific business; you’re studying how professionals got to where they are—what little decisions they made along the way, what setbacks momentarily stalled them and how they were overcome, what guiding vision has kept them centered.” – Dr. Carole Jabbawy
Tips for Success, Gained as an Intern
Take 16-year-old Kenta Nomoto, who interned with a Boston-based Ed-Tech Accelerator. Kenta found the experience hugely galvanizing, as he related in a journal entry reflecting on what he’d learned.
His biggest takeaway? “Motivation and passion” are the keys to success in any venture. “As I interacted with many of the startup CEOs,” he wrote, “I was fascinated by their passionate love for their company and [how] even through adversity, they strived to overcome those obstacles to stand out as a start-up company.”
Kenta was impressed by the dedication and vision of the entrepreneurs working to incubate their ideas into full-blown businesses. Observing the mentorship process, he gleaned valuable insight into how nascent CEOs produce comprehensive business plans and hone their pitches.
“The best part of my internship was being able to sit in on individual company meetings and take notes,” Kenta wrote. He participated in all aspects of the process, even conducting a little product-testing with an educational technology start-up that provides technological solutions for automatic assessments.
Kenta’s initial apprehensions about interning proved short-lived. “At first I was quite nervous, since I was the only high school student who was there as an intern,” he admitted, “but very quickly I began to feel comfortable.”
Kenta’s fulfilling time suggests the tremendous value intrinsic in any internship—whether or not you ultimately work in the particular industry. “Even if I do not end up as a startup CEO in the future, I recognized the importance of being motivated and passionate about what I do,” he wrote.