Entrepreneur Workforce Development

Career development for the entrepreneur economy

Entrepreneur Workforce Development Trends


We have been placing UMass Boston students in paid internships with the leading VC backed high tech start-ups in Massachusetts for almost two years now, and it is very interesting to look at the workforce trends and results.

Total # of students placed = 52

Total # of companies = 28


Marketing internships = 22

Software/Web development internships = 16

QA internships = 5

Sales internships = 4

IT internships = 2

HR internships = 2

Finance internships = 1

In addition:

25 were MBA

27 were undergrad

22 were international

Of the 28 students who graduated, 12 were hired on full time


So…….because I know each of the companies that hired these students as well as the students themselves, I have a deeper understanding of these statistics beyond the raw results, and a number of things pop out.


An MBA was not as important as relevant practical work experience, but having both is best.


Work authorization laws as well as lack of American business level communication skills inhibit the hiring of international students.    (This is a topic for another posting)


12 out of 28 students being hired full time was a more impressive statistic than meets the eye, as these positions were not budgeted, they were created because of the performance of the students.


The marketing internships involved lead generation based customer relationship management.  They involved email blasts, inbound and outbound phone call and email prospecting, web content uploading, webinar and seminar coordination, and social media marketing execution.  All tasks that are extremely time consuming and laborious but essential, and all tasks that are typically done by the sales and marketing staff.   In addition, there were four sales internships who filled similar roles but with more of an emphasis on appointment setting.  And all of the marketing internships evolved to more sales oriented roles as they gained experience.


The software/web development internships involved supervised coding, scripting, QA testing, documentation of testing process, and IT management of development environment.   All tasks that are essential to the development environment but tasks that can slow down the productivity of the development team.  In addition there were five QA internships that filled similar roles but were more specifically defined toward testing.  And these QA internships all evolved to more development oriented roles as they gained experience.  In addition, there were two IT internships focused on managing the development environment as well as the company’s overall IT environment.



The marketing and software/web development internships were #1 and #2 respectively because they had the biggest impact on freeing up valuable and expensive resource in the start-up organizations to do more productive tasks.   In a start-up it’s all about building and selling product/service.  Everything else takes a back seat.   The impact of gaining multiple extra hours per day for seasoned developers and sales/mktg people to be in the create mode, is dramatic.


In terms of our high tech entrepreneur economy in Massachusetts, educating and training students on the sales/mktg and software/web development skills described above is where it’s at.



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  2. 50-odd students out of an annual graduation in the thousands is insignificant and an employment model based around “enterpreneurship” and “internship” (read: working for free) is not viable. Students want and need jobs in established businesses that will provide a stable income and lifestyle. Do you really think an entire country of entrepreneurs is viable?

    Never mind that according to your own figures, barely HALF those students were hired on after doing substantial amounts of work for free. Not all students are able or willing to live off welfare or their parents’ sofa while they wait for something that may or may not pan out. What do you say to kids who aren’t so fortunate?

  3. To elaborate slightly:
    The internship may be “paid”, but the entire reason it’s called an “internship” and not a job is because the stipend paid is so small, it would be illegal under minimum wage laws to hire people for such amounts. Hence it’s only a viable form of employment if the person is living off welfare or their parents.

    Students need real opportunity, real jobs, in real industries, not marginal stipends in at-will employment totally at the mercy of businesses that have no reason to be generous. We’ve seen too often how shallow and false corporate “generosity” is. After all, we have regulation because business can’t regulate itself, so why should we expect them to be generous?

  4. Exciting to read about UMass Boston’s talented students, these trends, and the EC’s impact!

  5. Ethan,
    I do believe 50 paid internships at $14/hour and course credit along with the ability for students to gain experience, improve their resumes and improve their chances of launching their careers is significant. But thank you for your perspective.

  6. I’m sure Dan can verify, but I believe there are currently more internships “up for grabs” through the VDC than there are students applying for them. Furthermore, we’re talking about internships, not careers. The point of an internship is to provide a student with training that can be applied in something more career-like once they graduate. The fact that half of the students above were hired on full-time seems like a nice dollop of icing on the cake.

    I’m one of the software-type interns, and I’ve learned more about the software development process and programming in general in the last 8 or so months of interning than I could of imagined. While the value of that training alone is great, I can also assure you that the pay is very reasonable.

    I find it hard to believe that you can complain about a program that has provided so many positive opportunities and experiences for both students and start-up companies, especially considering that nothing like this even existed at UMB a year or two ago.

  7. Twelve jobs out of fifty-two students placed is a 25% success rate, and this is for what is supposed to be a singularly successful program. What is the logic of promoting a program that only has helped a very small percentage of all graduates, and then at a low rate?

    “especially considering that nothing like this even existed at UMB a year or two ago”

    No, it did not exist in the past, because in the past, before our country’s troubles began, we had something better: the reasonable expectation of graduating into the workforce. An integrated educational program – the education itself – that provides a reasonable expectation of employment on graduation, that serves tens of thousands, is far superior than a program that serves only a small number.

    This is my point: Social inequity has always been promoted by programs that are exclusive. Even if the filter is not as straightforward as a poll tax or quota, the fact remains, this program and those like it – and there are many on this campus – pit the few against the many. They subdivide those who graduate based on wholly arbitrary criteria. Whatever label may be on it, or saying there are unclaimed resources, doesn’t change the fact that those not served far outnumber those who are, and that this nebulous mass of “programs” that clog the campus obfusticates the educational process. It is morally repugnant and contrary to the nature of education that navigating the system should be a science unto itself.

    The university should leave students with jobs and knowledge, not vague and abtruse things based on access to obscure programs.

    What is good for the student base, for the country, for our future, is to axe these programs that serve only a few, and instead make it so the educational system serves the whole. Getting a job should not be a crapshoot; it should not be a gamble; we cannot write off those 75% who didn’t get a job as a statistic or say blandly that “well, they got experience, maybe they’ll get something in the future”. Limited programs should be disbanded and general education made totally straightforward and practical.

    Young people want and need security and to offer a “chance” or “opportunity” is not good enough.

  8. I believe that the 12 students were hired on as full-time employees at the company they interned for. The remaining students could very well have been hired at different companies.

  9. That’s true. 12 out of 28 students who graduated received jobs directly from their intern employers. That’s 43% . At least 5 more received jobs because of their intern experience. That’s 61%. And this is a new program, these #’s and %’s will only go up. But please don’t feel obliged to debate the obvious. Getting paid internships for UMass Boston students in the best high tech start-ups in Massachusetts is a good thing. And it’s specifically for students interested in a high tech entrepreneur career. Just as there are programs specifically to educate students who want careers in finance, biotech, etc. Getting UMass Boston students into the Venture Capital backed start-up community is hardly an exclusive program to promote social inequity. It is clearly the opposite. And as you know, this program is largely funded by me. So it is not taking $ or resources away from other valuable programs at UMass Boston.

    Lastly, this blog is about Entrepreneur Workforce Development. How to develop careers and a significant workforce for the entrepreneur economy. I would like to promote positive discussions on these topics. Comments that are not on topic and are just overall complaining without solutions are not of value and will be considered spam.

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  11. The statistics presented provide incoming students a better perspective of whether to choose UMass Boston or not and the career path they would like to take. The 12 out of 28 students who were hired full time by the companies they worked for as interns is really impressive.

  12. Useful information for students who are interested in marketing / sales jobs for their future career.

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