Startup vs. Big Company? An Intern’s Perspective.
This fall, I decided to take the semester off from school to juggle two internships. I’ve spent the past few months interning at Vyng, a venture-backed mobile app startup in Santa Monica and at Sony Pictures Entertainment, under their digital streaming platform Crackle. With
As you’ve probably guessed, the dress code at Vyng is casual. I usually come to work in jeans, a
Although the dress code at Sony isn’t super formal, most of the interns do show up to work dressed in business casual attire — meaning slacks, khakis and a collared shirt or blouse at the very least. The rest of the office also tends to stick to the same wardrobe choice to not seem overly underdressed compared to the higher-ups who often come in a suit and tie. I’ve noticed that people come to work dressed more casually on Fridays, often wearing jeans,
Both Sony Pictures and Vyng come with pretty amazing perks. At Sony, all employees get free access to early screenings of films that the studios produce, and can even bring along a +1 to watch these screenings with on the lot. There are kitchens on every floor stocked with coffee, tea, fruits and small snacks. We also receive a special employee lunch discount for a reasonably sized meal at the commissary which comes out to approximately $5.
The perks at Vyng include free lunch, Philz Coffee, and a kitchen fully stocked with unlimited breakfast bars, gummy bears, La Croix, and
One of the coolest things about being at a startup is that you don’t necessarily have to watch your mouth. Throw as many shits, fucks, and other swear words out there and no one will bat an eyelash. This might have something to do with the preexisting “bro culture” that has permeated the tech industry (and possibly the fact that all my coworkers are male). Anyhow, I have heard the occasional f-bomb being dropped around the office at Sony but it was still kept pretty discreet. Interestingly enough, I stumbled upon the realization that a set of phrases
Something you should carefully consider before choosing a company to work for is the type of work environment you succeed in. One major difference I noticed between interning at a startup and a big company was the layout of the office itself. At Vyng, we share a communal table where we sit and grind out the day on our laptops. There is continuous dialogue exchanged between us where we discuss things ranging from our weekend plans
Another important aspect you should take into account is the culture a company has and the kind of relationship you want to have with your coworkers. At Sony, my relationship with my supervisors sits more on the conservative side. We share the occasional laugh or two when walking to meetings and grab coffee together sometimes but that’s about it. In addition, Sony Pictures has a very established internship program, with frequent events and activities being organized for us ranging from resume workshops and guest speakers, to watching a Jeopardy taping together and going on a scavenger hunt. This enables us to meet and get to know other interns from different departments.
At Vyng, I grew close to my coworkers and the founders of the company (that’s probably bound to happen when you sit
(Note: the relationships you have will vary depending on the individuals involved and isn’t necessarily correlated with a particular type of company)
Sense of Purpose/Role Within the Company
Seeing that the main objective of an internship is to apply what you’ve learned in the classroom to real-life, you should also consider the role you’ll have
Meanwhile, at Vyng I’m pretty much a jack of all trades even though I was initially hired as a Growth Hacking intern. Part of building an entire company from scratch is that you learn as you go, leaving you with a wide range of knowledge. Boundaries are less defined. If something needs to get done and you’re capable of doing it, you do it. End of story. As an intern, the work you do will have more of a direct impact at a startup. I’ve seen the content I’ve curated and things I’ve suggested appear in the app’s new build which is simply amazing. Hence, if you want to have a defined role within a company and really hone in on a particular
My internships at Vyng and Sony Pictures have both been equally valuable to me. Regardless of which company you decide to work for, you’ll experience what being in an actual workplace setting is like and gain exposure to all sorts of people you can learn from. Remember that as you approach your graduation date, it’s important to choose the path in which you see most fitting. The main goal you should have when taking on internships and your first few jobs out of college is to absorb as much knowledge as you can and build a high-quality network that can support you in your future career endeavors.