The insider's guide to the Jerome Fisher Program at the University of Pennsylvania

From Intern to Colleague: How the M&T Fellowship Award Put Me on a Start-Up Team

The Management and Technology Intern Fellowship Award is designed to provide M&T students with an opportunity to pursue internships in small entrepreneurial venture firms. Recent recipient Hana Yen was awarded funding to serve as a Market Researcher for online community engagement start-up Breezio.

hana-yen-fall-2016

Hana Yen, Class of 2019

This past summer, the Management and Technology (M&T) Program provided me with the opportunity to intern at a startup. I was lucky to work with a company called Breezio, whose profound mission is to redefine what it means to engage around content, offering an innovative platform for online collaboration.

I found the position simply enough from a group listserv. It was the name listed with the position that drew my attention: Breezio CEO, Karen McCord. The name was familiar and I soon realized Karen was my Penn interviewer! Reading further, I found the opportunity featured tasks I could perform proficiently, so I emailed Karen inquiring about the position. After several exchanges, we scheduled a video conference, and things took off from there. What seemed a fated accidental arrangement ended up as perhaps the most rewarding summer of my life.

I spent my summer working in Breezio’s Rockville offices–just outside Washington, D.C. I began  my internship with meetings and introductions to the core team. My initial position was Market Researcher. I was tasked with compiling information on the company’s direct competitors, pricing, features, etc. However, I ended up completing this task – which was supposed to take me all summer – just after my second day. From there, my role within Breezio shifted to multiple roles: designer, blogger, website developer, bug tracker, engagement analyzer, and finally I landed on “jack-of-all-trades.”

When I started, I was the lone intern among four full-time employees. Before long, we welcomed four more summer interns from the University of Maryland Master program. Together, we were a true scrum team. Working on bug tracking, user analytics and interface, and usability, we transformed not only my understanding of agile movement but the working environment at Breezio. Being part of such a small, committed group gave me first-hand exposure to real-world involvement and I left feeling I made a real contribution. I was not “just an intern” but an integral member of the team.

After a few short months, I walked away from Breezio with more than I anticipated–armed with a newfound understanding, of my capabilities and the virtues of a team dynamic. For those who are interested in spending a summer working for a start-up, I can say the experience I gained and the bonds I formed are immeasurable. Thanks to the M&T Fellowship and Wharton Entrepreneurship Grant, I was able to follow through on this rewarding opportunity. I am more than grateful for this pursuit and encourage others to do the same.

Hana is from Potomac, MD and a member of the Class of 2019. She is majoring in Digital Media Design (DMD), has yet to declare her Wharton concentration.

 Find out more about current M&T Students are their experiences here.  

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