What Do Interns and Entrepreneurs Have In Common?

When you, as an entrepreneur, walk into a VC interview, and take a seat at the mahogany table in front of the people that could change your life forever, everything feels unfamiliar and daunting. That first interview feels tougher than passing all your 400-level courses in one go, and then the agonizing wait to hear back and see if they are interested in you. It is a dizzy whirlwind of trial and error, of managing expectations while hoping for the best, of accepting and rejecting conflicting advice from various sources, of fostering confidence while remaining humble, and of knowing that ultimately a lot will come down to plain luck.

The above illustration, I think, describes me and my colleagues perfectly as we are in our last year of university and about to begin our internships and career development journeys. The truth is, though, that this scenario isn’t actually written with job seekers in mind, but rather startup CEOs who are trying to make a name for themselves and secure partnerships and investment.

In my brief experience, I have realized that internships, in many ways, are similar to startups, and that is why I chose to work at Tahawal, a Dubai-based digital agency specifically designed to help startups and millennials, like me. Here is how:

Rose-colored glasses on: It all starts from an idea and just a little bit of courage. Both interns and entrepreneurs have a fresh new outlook on things. They have a drive to do things differently and in a way that is more effective. A common belief is that “if it’s not broken, it doesn’t need to be fixed”. However, this mentality not only shackles people, but businesses and markets too. As they say, when you look at something through rose-colored glasses, all the red flags just look like flags. Hence, both are also forced to explore the fine line between being relentlessly driven and being too stubborn to quit.

Big fish vs. little fish: Rather than becoming a little fish in a big pond or vice versa, interns and startups choose to make their own ponds. As a newbie in the market -be it as an intern or a startup- we all face the threat of being undervalued by the “big guys”. Naturally, common belief is that an employee with more experience automatically performs better than an entry-level candidate. However, thousands of employers in the region are turning to companies like InternsME.com to hire interns because they realize that an entry-level candidate may bring something to the table that’s completely unthought of. Similarly, a startup may address a gap in the market that established corporations fail to recognize and deliver to.

Eager beavers: A good opportunity knocking upon their door has both interns and entrepreneurs ready and raring to go, coupled with the desire to achieve, which burns inside of them. However...

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