Startup Life, the new initiative, is meant to help students find intern positions at international startups headquartered in Silicon Valley that have Russian-based development centers. Over the first month of the program, the organizers partnered with seven companies and received some 20 offers in different fields: development, testing, product management, business analytics, data science, and others.
“Our project was born in response to student demand: they want to intern at startups so that they can take an inside look at the workflow and decide if they want to found one themselves. At a startup, students can get the position they want right from the start, rapidly climb the career ladder, and boost their skills,” says Alexey Solomatin, head of ITMO Accelerator.
Startup Life receives open positions for students after reaching out to startups and securing partnerships. Then, the platform serves as an intermediary between both parties. For instance, specialists at the project conduct the first round of selection and then assist students during interviews with startup managers.
Importantly, all of the offered vacancies are paid internships, with the salary depending on their responsibilities, experience, and other factors. For instance, on average programmers receive 50-60 thousand rubles (about $670-810).
“When doing internships at major international companies, students usually perform a set amount of activities guided by their supervisors. At startups, on the other hand, interns can try their hand at sales, product management, or negotiation. They might even head one of the departments. Moreover, startups usually have small teams, which makes every opinion more valued,” explains Olesya Baraniuk, deputy head of ITMO Technopark.
If you wish to take part in the initiative, you can apply here (in Russian). After that, the project’s HR specialist will send you a form where you’ll need to describe your experience and achievements, indicate your English proficiency level and your GPA, as well as express your motivation to participate in the program.
“We try to choose several vacancies for each student based on their hard skills, so the more information they provide about themselves, the easier it will be for us to find more suitable positions,” says Olga Luneva, a manager at Startup Life.
For those with no working experience, the organizers suggest talking about their participation in hackathons, projects (even student ones), publications, MOOCs or offline courses. Essentially, the skills and knowledge you’ve received at university should suffice to participate and land an internship.
Managers at Startup Life select fitting candidates for the available intern positions and send them to startups for consideration. Next, startup managers choose the best candidates and invite them to interviews. According to those at Startup Life, all of their students so far have been invited to interviews.
The team behind the initiative
The project’s team is made up of ITMO students, among others. For instance, Vladislav Samarin, a graduate of one of ITMO’s Bachelor’s programs, communicates with startups and sends them information about selected student candidates.
“I am glad to be helping students find internship opportunities at international startups because I know that such experience is of great value in Russia,” comments Vladislav.
Olga Luneva, a second-year Master’s student, acts as an HR specialist: she matches candidates to suitable vacancies, as well as manages student applications. According to her, this experience is her chance to deal with real-life cases and work for the benefit of the university and its students.
Kseniia Kalabushina, a third-year Bachelor’s student, came to the project to develop her skills as a designer and grow professionally, while Tatiana Iurova, a first-year Master’s student, wished to experience something new and learn about other fields – she now manages the project's social media.
Where to learn more
You can find out more about the project, its partner companies, and their current job openings on its official VK page. There, you can also ask any questions regarding the program. Remember to fill in your contact information here if you wish to take part in Startup Life.
“When you’re a student, it’s important to try your hand at different fields to discover your strengths and weaknesses and to understand what you’d like to do in life. This project helps students realize their potential and take their first steps towards a successful career by expanding their portfolios and enhancing both their skills and their networks,” says Ionna Avagyan, head of PR & Marketing at ITMO Accelerator.