Summer Startup Experience

Towards the end of the last school year, I still hadn’t solidified my plans for the summer and wasn’t quite sure exactly what I wanted to do over the break. To be honest, I hadn’t given much thought to my summer plans. During that semester, I went on a trek to New York City sponsored by Wharton Retail Club through which I had the opportunity to meet a number of alumni who were working in the retail industry. I remembered talking to one individual in particular who was working on developing his own e-commerce platform for men’s street wear. Given my interest in retail and my desire to experience what it would be like to work at a startup, I thought it would be a great opportunity to work on this e-commerce platform for the summer. Now that I am able to reflect on that summer experience in its entirety, I can without a doubt recommend interning for a startup to anyone who is unsure about what they want to do and who is interested in pursuing a rewarding opportunity.

Two aspects of my experience that I really enjoyed were the amount responsibility that I was given and the opportunity to interact with individuals who were responsible for guiding the direction of the organization. From day one, I was given an extraordinary amount of responsibility simply due to the small number of employees and the large amount of work that needed to be completed. I was tasked with a variety of projects and had the chance to touch multiple parts of the organization. The second aspect of the position that I found really rewarding was the ability to interact with the individuals responsible for guiding the direction of the business. As an intern, I was able to have an impact on where the leadership team decided to take the company next. During my time at the startup, the leadership team was considering pivoting, which gave me the opportunity to complete a number of tasks that helped them make decisions about what the best move would be. Although the uncertainty and lack of structure oftentimes associated with working at an early stage company were sometimes frustrating, I would still highly recommend a startup experience.

Parker Brown is originally from Las Vegas, Nevada. He is concentrating in Management, Finance, and OIDD. Apart from participating in Wharton Ambassadors, he is also a consultant at the Small Business Development Center and on the board of Penn Appétit, the university's food magazine. In his free time, he enjoys cooking, spinning, and trying new restaurants.