The fun, fast-paced atmosphere of start-ups often reflects the personalities of the founders, as well as the employees they hope to attract. But it isn't for everyone, LaChapelle says.
"You need to be OK with rapid change, not having a clear road map, not having a management program," he says. "You need to be OK with the fact that your job description, if there even is one, may change as well."
Rachel Schaengold, an M.B.A. student at George Washington University and intern with Social Driver, a digital technology consulting firm, says that environment is exactly what she's seeking.
"Everyone's roles are blurred," Schaengold says. "As an intern, your roles are blurred across everything—but I like that."
While Schaengold appreciates the creative freedom, the uncertainty about her employment future can be unsettling, especially when classmates returned from their summer internships with signed employment contracts, she says.
"I have to remind myself, sure, they have a job, but it's not the job I want," she says. "No start-up is going to hire you a year in advance."
[Consider two things every employer wants.]
For M.B.A. students aiming to turn their start-up internship into a career, initiative and passion about the product go a long way, says Tony Cappaert, cofounder of Contactually, a web tool that helps businesses manage E-mail contacts.
"I don't want someone to tell me how much of a go-getter they are ... I want them to take initiative and show me how they're going to add value to me and my organization now," Cappaert says. "And if you can do that unprompted, you're going to stand out from everyone else."
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