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How start-ups are providing students real time industry experience

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On-ground work experiences can support an individuals lifelong learning, and this holds true for students who are exploring opportunities with start-ups. Be it full-time or virtual internships, summer schools or even building a product of their own – the learning curve at start-ups is immense, and helps acquire valuable entrepreneurship skills and hands-on knowledge in various fields.

Gone are those days where there were limited opportunities and resources. Students today want to venture into different sectors and have a thorough understanding of various setups, industries and verticals. There is no better way to get a taste of this variation than working at start-ups – they are energetic and unpredictable, for them each day is a new adventure, and every project teaches something novel.

Ask an average university student about work experience or job prospects after graduation and you might see a panicked look in their eye. They explain that they are not quite sure about what they are going to do, but are open to anything and will be looking around. Hence, start-ups connect students with actual business to complete projects so that they get the required experience before they graduate. This is done via traditional methods such as weekly live projects, campus ambassador programmes and internships, as well as out of the box methods like coding camps, and student academies, among others. Once a student steps into this vibrant environment, they have an opportunity to switch across various roles in the same setup and obtain an understanding of what is it that they would be comfortable doing. In other words, they get to realise, through self-assessment, what their true calling is.

Start-ups not only allow students to discover their interests, but also make sure that their opinions matter and are extremely accepting. Work is never monotonous, and the zealous culture demands a lot of hard work and dedication from the students. For instance, one can start with an internship and learn initially from the mentors but by the end of the internship, he/she would have developed ownership and will be able to deal with high pressure situations, and take a lot more risks.

With the mission of getting a lot of things done on time, analysing problems and then having a solution focused approach, students also learn to work with limited resources and understand the value of hard work. This indeed pays off, no matter what they decide for the future (working at corporates or start-ups).

As soon as a student enters any workplace, from the very first day, they learn business acumen and gain confidence by being exposed to business ideas. Since start-ups are close knit families and each member sticks together even during the most difficult times, students get to have multiple interactions with co-founders, and cross-functional peers and mentors, which is a great way of networking at a young age.

Many students, despite having the potential for becoming business leaders, fail to do so – simply because they do not receive adequate guidance. However, at start-ups they constantly get to work in a lot of different areas and evolve into young entrepreneurs. Perhaps some of them even take on to becoming future CEOs and have start-ups of their own.

Start-ups systematise the process of learning across an entire organisation, and most of their tricks can usefully be ported over to students who want to learn more effectively. This, however, remains a two-way process – though students get real-time industry experience across fields like technology or marketing, there is always a lot for the start-ups to pick on from the young talent pool and probably inculcate those ideas in actual practice.

The author is Praachi Pathak, talent acquisition specialist, ROPOSO.

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