I was first introduced to MassChallenge by a professor of mine at Boston College. At first, I was skeptical. How could a nonprofit provide 128 of the worlds most innovative startups the necessary office space and network they needed in order to be successful? It didnt make much sense and I surely was not convinced. I wanted to learn more. At the time, I was looking for an internship for the summer and learned that MassChallenge was accepting applications for their summer internship program.
After a 2-month long application process, I was accepted as a Business Development intern. As an undergraduate, I have a myriad of interests and not a clue as to what I want to do with myself. And as a 20 year-old feeling the push and pull of a new career path every day, Im hyperactive in finding the best way to manage my interests into a life I can be happy living.
I first arrived at MassChallenge with two main goals in mind: to generate a network I could leverage for my future career goals and to gain the kind of work-experience I could boast about in future job-interviews. After interning at MassChallenge for a summer, I can say those two things would barely graze the surface of what MassChallenge has given me. What I expected to be a network of successful professionals became a community of friends. What I expected to be hours of arduous work to craft the most pristine excel sheet my bosses had ever seen, became managing systems and people that depended on me for solutions to their problems. I was working one-on-one with some of the most innovative minds found in both the corporate and startup worlds. During my second week on the job, I found myself meeting with essential personnel from places like AWS and Dell, to places like Fidelity Investments and IBM.
If youre looking for a place to learn from someone elses experiences, MassChallenge in not the place for you. Sure, you learn from other people, but-more importantly- you learn from yourself. MassChallenge offers you the chance to fail. And once you fail, you learn how to fail quickly. And once you fail quickly, you learn how to solve quickly. And then the failing stops and you find yourself innovating for new solutions to your old problems.
MassChallenge has given me the internship I didnt even know existed. I learned from myself and I learned from the people around me. I failed, I succeeded, I iterated on my successes and I found myself doing the things I love to do. MassChallenge gave me the opportunity to teach myself the skills I wanted to learn and thats a privilege unique to MassChallenge. I began my summer ready to work for a cool company with lofty ideals and ended my summer feeling a part of a community of friends and young professionals that are hell-bent on being remembered.