Launching Entrepreneurial Careers with Georgetown Startup Interns

Spring 2022 marks the 5th semester of UNXD 290 – Georgetown Startup Interns (GSI). GSI is a unique opportunity for Georgetown undergraduate students to intern for a startup or growth stage company in the DMV area, receive formal training in various professional skills, and receive credit and compensation for their work. The course was created by Professor Mike Malloy, who also serves as an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Georgetown. Prof Malloy designed the training program based on the skills he learned during his time at Deloitte, as CEO of his own social enterprise startup, and as Program Director at the Halcyon Incubator. When Georgetown Entrepreneurship’s Founding Director, Jeff Reid, presented Prof Malloy with the opportunity to build GSI, he was excited to teach students the many professional skills that he never learned while in college.

Georgetown Startup Interns was first offered in Spring 2020 (and was called the Georgetown Entrepreneurship Internship Experience) as a synchronous course meeting, but it was quickly moved to a virtual format upon the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and then later adapted to be fully asynchronous. Prof Malloy’s first lesson after spring break 2020 was all about “How to Work Remotely.” The course continues to be offered in a flexible, asynchronous format because of the success students found in managing their time on academic work with internship tasks. Additionally, students can now receive 3 credit hours for enrolling in the course (they previously received none), which demonstrates the university’s recognition of the value of teaching professional skills alongside real-work experience.

The course is organized into 14 training modules that parallel the progression of each student’s internship experience throughout the semester. The lessons begin with soft skills rooted in practicing self-awareness and how to apply your strengths to the internship and ultimately a career path. It then proceeds to teach core professional skills, such as writing emails, preparing for meetings, and leaving voicemails, followed by informational interviewing and networking event techniques. The training finishes off with advanced skills on presentations, sales, and emotional intelligence. While Professor Malloy was able to plan the course based on his own professional experiences, and having managed over 100 interns, he also conducted customer discovery with startup employers to better understand what they look for in interns. Additionally, he surveyed students to consider the skills they wish to develop in preparation for professional opportunities.

Georgetown Startup Interns plays a valuable role in the DMV entrepreneurship ecosystem by providing growing startups with energetic and talented interns who will add value to the company. GSI also looks to expose students to the exciting, nontraditional career paths that exist outside of investment banking and consulting. Given the positive experiences students have had with the program and working with their startups, GSI has already began to make progress in achieving these goals.

“Our hope is to continue to positively impact the lives of as many Georgetown students as possible to introduce them to what it’s like to work at a startup. We hope to steer students away from a big four consulting company or investment bank, and instead, foster their entrepreneurial mindset to be the 5th or 10th or 50th employee at a startup right after graduation and/or throughout their career” – Professor Mike Malloy