16. juni 2020

My experience as a startup intern

Startup internship

At the University of Copenhagen, more and more students can do an internship in a startup while gaining ECTS. A startup internship can be a unique chance to get new insights on innovation and entrepreneurship. UCPH Innovation Hubs supports students in developing their own business or in taking part in the development process of someone else’s startup. Students learn how to put their skills into play in new ways and get hands on experience with early stage business development and the creation of new solutions for solving real life problems.

By Shivani Karnik (student at Pharmaceutical Science and Anna Vestergård Jacobsen, innovation consultant at SUND Hub)

Photo of Shivani Karnik

Shivani Karnik is a master’s student in Pharmaceutical Science and has embraced the opportunity of taking a startup internship with open arms. In spring 2020 she is doing an internship in Ceremedy ApS, a research based pharmaceutical startup working on developing a new drug for sleep-related disorders. As part of the internship she takes part in a tailored workshop program in SUND Hub (one of UCPH Innovation Hubs), supporting students in developing their entrepreneurial mindset.

We invited Shivani to share her journey and experience from the startup world and on how a Danish startup company values their employees.

Setting off into the startup journey

“Coming from a non-business background with no one in my family as inspiration either, being part of a business at its root level is something I never imagined I was good at. Business always seemed to me like an area I should not venture into.

How would I ever convince people about my product? How would I ever manage the money? What would I do with the pressure of trying to bring success to the company? If you have these doubts too, then know that we belong to the same boat. But, if my experience says anything, it will help you sail to the shore too.

It has been the most satisfying journey for me. It is true when they say that you should always work in a startup or a small company at first. The connections you make and the experience you gain is unmatched.

I was given the task of analyzing the market and finding potential competitors for the startup – a huge part of venturing into a business is to know who you are competing against. Many a time, they turn out to be friends than enemies

A cultural experience

As an intern in a Danish company, know that you will be valued just as much as the CEO. I had only heard about it from a career development program I joined but it was after I became an intern that I realized my voice would never go unheard.

This is especially important for international students who are used to a hierarchical work culture. It can be a bit intimidating at first, and it is possible that you hold back at times or feel like all eyes are on you. That is far from the truth. Danish companies value employees, and that is one of the many things I like about Denmark.

My best advice to other students

If you are a curious person or want to simply know whether you could be good at starting a business, do not hesitate to join SUND Hub or one of the other UCPH Innovation Hubs. It cannot get better than this for a newcomer. If you do have some experience but yet, would like to check this place out, you should do it.

Based on the little yet valuable experience I have, the best part about the startup world is its journey. You do not need to be an extrovert to network here, and you will be surprised at how many people want to collaborate with you and see you succeed!

I came to SUND Hub a dreamer and I am leaving as a realist. I know that I am not an expert in business, but I am not naïve anymore either. SUND Hub has generated confidence in me and given me an incentive to break out of the pre-planned path that I have carved for myself and give a shot at being the CEO I have only imagined I could be, but never had the guts to bet on.”

Read the full interview with Shivani Karnik at the SUND Hub webpage.