Intern profile – Luke Shields
An energetic third year Business student at UTS, gave us the download on interning at startups.
How many internships have you had?
Three! Two unpaid and one paid position.
Can you tell us about the internships?
The longest internship that I have had has been with the entrepreneurial startup The Founder Institute. For a year I have assisted with running the weekly classes and operations. I also interned for the superannuation startup SuperPick in both a research and marketing capacity. It was particularly interesting as I was able to witness a startup from conception to pre-launch. Most recently I obtained an internship with the Sydney Seed Fund, allowing me to get inside the world of early stage technology focused Venture Capital!
What was the most valuable part of these internships for you?
As part of the Founder Institute, I was consistently surrounded by a range extraordinarily successful entrepreneurs which proved to be an insightful complement to the theory that I’d learnt at University. SuperPick was fantastic because it gave me the opportunity to develop an understanding of how a startup comes to life. Finally, the Sydney Seed Fund has allowed me to capitalize on some of the financial theory that I’d developed at University and has also provided me with a great deal of insight into early stage investment decisions.
Was there anything you found challenging about these internships?
It has been an excellent experience being involved in all of these internships, but it can be difficult staying on top of a vast array of emails being sent day and night throughout the week, particularly whilst trying to keep up with studies/classes. The flipside is that you develop a professional approach to sending and receiving emails – an incredibly important skill that you don’t learn at university.
Do you think that interning will help you find a job once you graduate?
I have no doubt that these experiences will prove to be of immense value for me in the long run. They’ve allowed me to develop a broad skill-set, with forays into social media, marketing, operations and legal research. These reach far beyond the theoretical underpinnings of my degree, and have ultimately made me a more well-rounded business student.
Do you have any advice to students looking for an internship?
The market for university graduates has never been tougher than it is now. Any kind of differentiation is going to prove to be extremely valuable for a prospective candidate so I’d strongly encourage students to be proactive and seek out internships. Even if they’re unpaid, not only are you developing valuable skills, but you may find that they’ll develop into ongoing positions.
99interns thanks Luke for his time!