If you are a college student or have recently graduated, internships are the best way to begin your career and gain some first-hand experience. Sounds simple, right? Only that it is not. We all know internships are great and all but when it comes to choosing the type of internship one should do, we often get confused. Some say research internships are great while few others recommend beginning your career with the challenging work-environment of a start-up.
Of course, one bill can never fit all and while research internships are a good option for some, start-up internships will be better for someone seeking a completely different career.
Research internships versus Start-up Internships
A research internship is where you will research on a given ‘subject’ independently or under the guidance of a mentor/professor. It is usually undertaken by students in their final year of study where they spend time researching, collecting data and writing thesis about a given subject.
A start-up internship, on the other hand, is mostly an industrial internship where the interns are assigned projects to work on. This is like a real job but a more diverse profile given the limited number of people working in a start-up
Initiation versus Assignment
A research project requires a lot more initiative on the part of the student. From selecting the research-topic to collecting data, learning concepts to writing a thesis, you are on your own. This promotes lots of learning and a steep growth curve. When it comes to admission to a Master’s or a PhD degree within or outside the country, preference is always given to students with a research background.
While interning with start-up, you become a valuable member of the team. Not only are you assigned real work, but you also get ownership and recognition of the work you do. There is absolutely no hierarchy and you will do everything from making coffee to cracking a business deal, from writing a blog to planning to next marketing strategy. In short, a start-up internship promises amazing overall growth with lots of on-the-job learning and experience.
Clear mind versus Gaining Clarity
In a research project, you decide on a topic as per your will and pursue it. The topics are selected based on what field you want to make your career or do your PhD on. That means you will need to have a lot of clarity in mind before you start the research work.
On the other hand. Start-up internship is a great way to find out about your strengths and weaknesses. You will work on things you hadn’t even thought of. You will realize the work you love to do and the field of work you loathe. In the end, you will get a deeper insight into what you want to do in the future.
So, if you are someone who is looking to pursue higher studies, is self-motivated and is looking forward to work on a given subject, research internship is for you. Whereas if you are looking to take-up a job, gain varied on-the-job experience or decide on a career field, start-up internship will bring in the needed exposure. In the end, what you want to achieve out of the internship should be your deciding factor for the kind of internship you want to do.