BY: PRIYANK BHATIA
Where are you interning/did you intern?
I am interning at Agilis Chemicals, a startup company that is making an online marketing & distribution platform for the chemical industry.
What are/were your responsibilities as an intern?
Because this is a startup, I had many different responsibilities which included:
- Managing the product database by creating and uploading product profiles and data sheets for the many chemicals that Agilis Chemicals will be distributing.
- Helping to test and debug the online marketplace software during its development.
- Conducting market research on the different companies, manufacturers, and industries Agilis would like to serve.
- Conducting sales calls and obtaining relevant information from customers.
- I also developed demo videos of the Agilis marketplace to enroll new customers.
Describe a typical day at your internship.
Each day at my internship was unique and different from any other day at the internship. However, I started each day by first meeting with my supervisor and reviewing what the tasks and goals to be accomplished for the day were. This usually consisted of conducting research on the different companies, manufacturers, and industries we would be working with, conducting research and developing & uploading the product profiles & data sheets of the various chemicals & products. I would also contact different companies and manufacturers and work with my coworkers to test and identify any errors in the online marketplace. At the end of the day, I would reconvene with my advisor to review what had been accomplished during the day and what needed to be worked on in the future.
What is/was your favorite thing about your internship?
My favorite thing about my internship is being able to get an inside look at how a startup functions and what kind of work is involved in getting a business up and running. Because this is a new business, there was a lot of work to be done, so I felt that I was given more responsibilities and unique opportunities, and was in charge of more aspects of the business than I would have been in a “traditional” business.
What is/was the most valuable skill you developed in this internship that you can use in your future career?
The most valuable skill I developed in this internship that I can use in my future career is being able to speak in a more professional & business-like manner. One of my responsibilities was to cold-call other businesses, and the practice of doing this helped improve my communication skills.
What was something unexpected that happened during your internship, or resulted because of your internship?
As part of my internship, I had to go to a networking event, largely consisting of other startups & angel investors. This was unexpected to me because I was not aware that I would have to go to any networking events, and it was my first time at a networking event so I was not sure of how the event would go. However, the event served as a good learning experience where I was able to network with other professionals and speak to new people.
What advice or words of wisdom can you share for other students who may be interested in pursuing this internship, or a similar one?
People who start a new company usually hire people they already know for their first few employees so talk to people that you know because if they or somebody close to them are starting a company and know you are interested, they would be more likely to hire you or refer you to somebody who is starting a company. In addition, there might be more opportunities in the future where somebody decides to start their own company, so if they have spoken with you earlier, they would be more likely to think of you when looking for new hires. If you do get an opportunity to work at a startup (or any other company), you should have a willingness to learn and go into it with an open mind.
How did you grow as a future professional in this field?
I grew as a future professional by developing new skills and gaining valuable experience and insights into business. I learned how to communicate more effectively & professionally, I was able to see first-hand how a (primarily new) business is run, and I also learned what it takes to start a new business if I decide to start my own business in the future. This internship also allowed me to put what I had learned in class into action and reinforce my learning through action. In addition, the skills & experience I have gained during this internship will help me in any career field, as it has helped me increase my critical thinking & problem-solving skills.
Priyank Bhatia is a Management Information Systems major expected to graduate in 2018.