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
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.