How an internship at a startup infused confidence in an introvert
I am a B.Com student and I joined a startup as a marketing intern.
During my winter holidays, I interned at a startupin Delhi. While I wanted to learn more about finance,the options on internship portals did not excite me. Finally, I applied for internship at healthcare startup Babygogo,which was looking for a marketing person.
I am an introvertand a good listener. I love reading about finance and politics…. but marketing? It was not something that interested me at all. But I was open to doing new things.
I thought I didn't stand a chanceof getting shortlisted, but to my surprise, I got the interview call.
With little confidence, I appeared for the interview. Initially, I thought that the whole place belonged to this startup, but later I came to know that more than ten startups were working out of that officecomplexat Connaught Place, at the heart of Delhi.
The office was beautiful and the environment was so vibrant. Siddharth, Founder,Babygogo, conducted my interview. It was casual and I told him honestly that I don’t know anything about marketing, but I can learn if given a chance.
I got selected!I was so excited but also nervous at the same time.
My friends and family could not believe that I got an internship opportunity in the marketing domain. They said, “Nansi, you will not be able to work in marketing. You can just get good marks in finance.” But I believe that anyone can excel in any field if they are open to learn and enjoy their work.
Babygogo is a mobile app for parents, where they can ask questions related to child healthcare. Parents can see their child’s growth charts, vaccination details, and doctor visit records if their doctor is also connected with the app.
I got the work of calling customers (parents) who had recently installed the mobile app. I didn't have the ideal voice for making calls, but I decided to take the risk. The founders trained me with the tools and calling scripts.
My first day was embarrassing. I was unable to explain the features to our customersand some could not even hear me properly.
All calls were recordedand I was sure the founders would fire me after listening in. But to my surprise, they encouraged me for my efforts and helped me fix issues with my script. Their encouragement helped and with time, I became efficient at calling.
My challenges started becoming my strengths and I became confident in my abilities. No one had accepted me as volunteer in my college events because I was not good at communication, but now I was overcoming the fear of interacting with people. I was enjoying talking to moms and becoming a medium for better health for their children.
I was turning from an introvert into an extrovert – thanks to the startup environment.
I am glad I did not join a CA firm for internship; I would have spent hours on Excel files, reading boring financial policies and dealing with corporate customers. It is not that I don’t like finance, but I would have lost all the fun and learning in marketing.
I learned that the only way to overcome fear was by confronting it.
I had always underestimated myselfbut this experience helped me discover my hidden strengths.
Let me summarise some of the benefits of working at a startup.
# Contributing to meaningful work
I wanted to work with an NGO for a social cause but never knew that I will get a chance to impact healthcare industry through a startup.
# Work with intellectual and smart people
I enjoy talking with rational and intelligent people. I am glad that I am working with smart people from IIT who left their jobs to work at a startup.
# No boss-giri
The founders and other team members in a startup may be carrying big credentials but they are down to earth. At the startupI interned at, there was no culture of calling ‘Sir.’ everyone preferred to be called by their first name.
# Learning beyond my qualifications
Startups are the best place to learn the skills that have no place in your college curriculum. My work was not limited to calling but I learnt a few things about design, social media and email marketing as well. It means a lot for a student like me who buried herself in a pile of finance books only.
# Decision power
There was no discrepancy between regular employees and interns. They gave me the decision power in my own work. I tried different calling scripts and even suggested required changes.
# No blame game for the mistakes
Yes, I made a lot of mistakes. No one blamed me but helped me fix my mistakes. Once I wrote a very casual email to a customer. One of the co-founders, Sowrabh, saw the email and came over. He explained how to write a professional emailand corrected mine. He set a great example of politeness and mentorship.
# Training senior people
I got a chance to train new hires who were senior to me. It is a big achievement for an intern to impart training to seniors. Once, they involved me in the interview process as well.
# The face of startup
I was representing the startup over phoneand I felt like I was part of the core team within a few days.
# Fun of working in the co-working space
You must visit a co-working office. You will find small startups with the team size of four to 10 people working on their tables. I now have friends outside my startup.
At the end, I got an employment offer from the startup.My decision is still pending,but I would love to stay near startups after completing my graduation.
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)