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Dear MBAs, go the extra mile when pursuing a startup internship (humbledmba.com)
41 points by jaf12duke on June 11, 2010 | hide | past | web | favorite | 24 comments

Engage with the general startup community: Build up your twitter account, blog readership, and Hacker News karma score

If someone makes a hiring decision based on my NH karma score or # of twitter followers, I don't want to work there.

no one is advocating making a hiring decision based on 2 numbers. but they can show involvement and engagement in an online community, which can be valuable to a startup

Why? I'd rather have an employee who was the best at the job I need them for than an employee who is good at tweeting.

All other things being equal I'd rather have an employee who had a personal following of the right kind.

This is because it shows:

- They care enough about what they do to do it in their off hours.

- They do it well enough to gather some respect.

- "Marketing" is much easier, and much less distasteful, when it can be done by and to people who respect each other about things they genuinely like. And start ups need all the marketing help they can get.

There are only a few people out there who have skill sets that are so unique that there isn't someone just like them who also has a valuable on-line reputation.

I'm certainly not a special snowflake, and I'm a domain expert in three fields. I meet people who are better than me all the time.

Are you sure you are one of the ~500 people in the world who are so good that only their specialist knowledge matters? Or should you think that every asset you can bring, no matter how seemingly unrelated to your job description, adds something to a start up that may help them succeed.

Another way of putting it is that while good hackers aren't necessarily likely to have high karma scores, a high karma score does predict better-than-average hacking skills. No idea if that's true, but that's the hypothesis.

Actually, I'd argue that a high karma score predicts a higher level of writing skill. In that vein, I would argue that writing skill is almost as important as hacking skill in most jobs, startups included. I believe PG and others have said something about this but writing skill allows you to accurately convey your own ambitions and competence to the people who will matter.

Also a high karma score indicates too much time on your hands spend commenting or searching for submissions.

Also it predicts too much time on your hands spend commenting or searching for submissions.

Are you an engineer, or a MBA.

It shouldn't matter either way, but I'm halfway to MBA.

It should matter if he's curious what pool you've sampled yourself from.

I'm surprised this blog keeps popping up. I realize the guy got an MBA and wasn't impressed with his experiences, but isn't constantly harping on MBA's a little like the 14th century flagellants? Bad MBA. Bad MBA. Forgive me of my sins. /rant

I guess being in an MBA program myself means I know the realities of the system, so maybe these articles aren't for me, but all the same...

Full disclosure: I'll be starting in a parttime MBA program this fall, in a top-10 B-school. I write code for living, but want to explore what else is out there for me.

I find some of his advises interesting, especially proposing your own internship project.

However, I strongly disagree with him just dissing a person who wants to get involved and is willing to do "anything". I really would like an MBA like that. One, who is willing to learn, take on projects beyond his/her comfort zone, make a contribution where it is needed. That person, IMO, is almost an entrepreneur, as s/he is taking a risk, which most other MBAs aren't.

Saying "I'll do anything" doesn't make the MBA-intern clueless, rather makes him a lot more motivated and open-minded about his career and future path.

Just for example, imagine a Product Manager/Marketing person who can actually do QA and comes up with product vision after playing with a product, rather than just doing surveys. Imagine an HR person who would actually work with the Dev/QA to understand the company culture, as it grows, rather than just follow the path that has been laid out before him/her. Etc...

Edit: I take criticism very well and would love to learn the fallacy of my argument. If you do decide to downvote me, please do but I'd love to understand why.

"Saying "I'll do anything" doesn't make the MBA-intern clueless, rather makes him a lot more motivated and open-minded about his career and future path."

When you say "I'll do anything", I hear: "I'll do anything that you want me to do"

That's the problem. I don't want to spend more time figuring out shit for you to do than you spend actually doing it.

I would rather hear you say: "I'd be willing to do anything, but I know that I could really help with ________"

Fair enough. I can totally agree with that.

I'm not trying to be mean, but right now my perception is that a guy with an MBA is probably not much more useful to a startup than a thoughtful guy who reads TechCrunch and gets microeconomics.

Could anyone summarize the core insights they got from their business education?

"8. Do an unsolicited SEO analysis if you want to do marketing."

Great. That's all we need... more unsolicited SEO "improvements".

there's a difference between being solicited for SEO "consulting" and a potential intern at your company showing he or she is knowledgeable about online marketing and willing to get his or her hands dirty

Great advice. The main thing that seekers should takeaway is that an extra body often creates MORE work, not less. The more self-sufficient someone can present themselves as, the better.

totally agree

I did my MBA internship with a startup (15 employees) by helping them find some channel partners in south-east asia. This was a startup where the product was out and sales team was being expanded.

Overall, I agree that there is very little application for MBA framework in a startup environment. If nothing else, the MBA candidate should be put in charge of closing some sales.

I agree with a lot of this. I tried for the good part of a semester trying to get a non-technical startup internship before Rich @ WePay had a similar post. Being able to explain what I can bring to the table besides "I'll do anything" is the reason why I have the internship I have now. Vague terms like analysis got me no where; specifics they liked.

> 8. Do an unsolicited SEO analysis if you want to do marketing

Not very humble....

When you see something that is wrong, there are two possibilities - it's actually wrong or you are.

Even if it's wrong, your analysis may not add any value even if it's completely correct. For example, better SEO may be 9th on their list of priorities and they only have resources for the top 5.

It's not about you.

"You may not care about SEO, but here's what I noticed..."

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