How I Turned a Summer Internship Into a Full-Time Job
Hola— I have returned. Today, I'd like to share an overview of my journey turning my internship into a full-time job. Recalling my first post, the Mayfield Fellows Program has been integral to my life and early career development. As part of the programming, participants were required to accept an internship at a venture-backed startup no bigger than 100 employees. My cohort had company sizes ranging from thousands of employees at Airbnb— obviously an exception— to my 3-person team at DailyDoctor (formerly AIRx Health).
It’s April 2019, and the company’s co-founders, Vijay Rajasekhar and Marlon Castillo, are fresh out of YCombinator’s winter batch. The company is literally an infant at this point, being “alive” for only a mere three months. Our CEO, Vijay, being an alumnus of MFP himself, reached out to a few of us about a potential internship opportunity and it hit my sweet spot. I wanted to work at a health-tech company that was software-focused and had a teeny team. Moreover, I had an inkling that I want to start my own company down the road, and what better opportunity to test if I actually want to go through the growing pains of building a company from scratch than joining a brand spanking new company? Yup, probably isn’t one (other than actually founding a company). So I decided to join them and more or less became part of the founding team as an intern with no intention of staying with the company beyond the summer.
I went into the internship with a “yes and…” mindset, commonly used in improv, and I adopted it from my good friend Ellie. Vijay would ask me to do something that I was not qualified to do, and I’d vigorously respond yes AND proceed to my friendly pal Google to figure out the best way to get it done— although I no longer use Google as my search engine. I now use Ecosia, a search engine that uses ad revenue to fund reforestation. As I was taking the lead on various projects I made myself indispensable, to a certain extent. Beyoncé taught me long ago that we’re all replaceable but you know what I mean. Although I was an intern, by saying yes to numerous projects, I had a lot on my plate. If you weren’t aware, there’s always tons to do when a company only has 3 full-time employees. On top of everything, I wanted to put on my nonexistent engineering hat and write code: albeit, I was far from being considered a developer. With one computer science class under my belt, I said yes to small engineering tasks and somehow figured those out as well. Towards the end of the summer, Vijay began talking to me about the prospect of staying on the team as I had essentially graduated from Stanford at that point. Apparently, I was performing pretty well or had taken on enough tasks that they didn’t want back on their plate— nobody really knows!
This felt like a tough decision. I had already been accepted to a Master’s program in Paris and longed to spend some time traveling the world as football (and a general lack of funds) kept me hunkered down on campus year-round. I also wanted to take that time to consider two paths at the forefront of my mind: pursuing an MD or PhD, both of which I now may never choose. When presented with the opportunity to work remotely from Paris, I couldn’t say no, could I? After several conversations with trusted mentors, I boiled the decision down into a simple phrase: I can get paid to learn a lot or I can pay to learn a lot. I found clarity in this simplification because neither door closed off my ability to push toward a doctorate degree at a later stage in life. I was unfamiliar with remote work but decided to jump in— little did I know that work as we know it may be permanently shifting due to the pandemic. So there I was, 22 years old, wrapping up an internship, taking a one-week vacation, and starting full-time for the same company.
Please reach out if you have any questions about finding internships, being a high-performing intern, or whatever else comes to mind!
🤟🏾 One Love ✌🏾