Spring semester is underway, and that means it is crunch time for students seeking summer internships. Landing a job with a big bank, a giant tech company or one of the Big Four accounting firms seems ideal. Although the prestige and experience that comes with working with a corporate giant such as Citi or Microsoft is difficult to pass up, two other options are often overlooked: starting your own business, and interning at a startup.
Working with a fledgling company has never been more valuable than in today’s economy.
Valuations on startups and fledgling tech companies in 2013, while not at the Dot-com Bubble levels yet, are nonetheless staggering. When Twitter went public at $26 in November, the price of its stock immediately shot up and closed at a peak of $73.31 in late December. Twitter has yet to turn a profit.
Snapchat, a company founded in April 2011, and most likely to be found on any college student’s smartphone, was offered $3 billion in November by Facebook in order to sell the company. Snapchat, too, has yet to make a dime.
Although it may be unfair to expect someone to come up with another Twitter or Snapchat, the environment for starting one’s own company, or interning at a young business with potential, is ripe with opportunity.
In 2013, private equity firms generated a record amount of cash for investors, and in the third quarter of 2013, venture capital firms invested $3.6 billion into software companies, the most of any quarter in twelve years. Investors are looking for the next big thing, and there is no reason why entrepreneurial students at the University of Miami should not take advantage of this trend, even if it means sacrificing a more secure position elsewhere.
There are a variety of resources that students can use in order to find more unconventional opportunities. The Launch Pad at UM is an excellent tool to use for refining a business plan and connecting with individuals with industry experience. For internships, sites such as AngelList and StartUpHire list companies in need of student talent.
Jumping head first into any endeavor is a fearsome prospect. But what better time is there to set out on your own than in college? At the very least, you will have something to add to your flawless resume.
Paul Ryan is a junior majoring in economics and finance.