Want to work for a startup? A key element to this goal is understanding the startup’s work environment and company culture (and learning if the work you do will be meaningful!).
And there is perhaps no better way to learn about the inner workings of a startup than through intern insights. Introducing the Sunny Day Fund interns!
Our summer interns brought their different academic backgrounds and expertise to help further develop the SDF platform, assist with product marketing, and more. We’re proud of what they accomplished, the lessons they learned, and the amazing ideas they brought to the table!
Want to learn more about their experience? Check out five key takeaways from our interns — from company culture insights to tips on working with a startup.
1. Find startups with missions that resonate.
Nathan, an incoming first-year student at the University of Virginia, reached out to us as early as March about the opportunity to intern.
Joining the tech team as a software analyst, Nathan (and Hitaansh) lunged into learning all the different, complex elements that make up our technology and took ownership of a new feature release.
But the technical side of Sunny Day Fund wasn’t the only thing that Nathan took away from his internship. According to Nathan, “A piece of advice that I’d offer for others exploring startup internships is to find startups whose mission resonates with you; you’ll find your work to be enjoyable and meaningful.”
At Sunny Day Fund, our mission is to bridge the gap between financial stability today and financial freedom tomorrow for hardworking Americans. Our goal is to truly enable financial well-being for ALL 152M American workers by partnering with the organizations that employ and care about them.
With a clear mission as our startup’s north star, other elements — like a collaborative team environment — fall into place.
“Something that I’ve really liked about Sunny Day Fund is how supportive the team is,” Nathan adds. “Whether its help with code, optimizing the UX/UI, or figuring out what needs to be fixed in testing, it was nice to always have someone to lean back on for help.”
Beyond coding, Nathan gave all of us at Sunny Day Fund great tips on weightlifting and will likely retain the title of best intern QB. 🙂
2. Have confidence in startup leadership.
Ben joined us at Sunny Day Fund to work as a Sales, Operations, and Business Associate. He rounded out his summer internship to return to the amazing University of Virginia Darden School of Business for his second year.
He is passionate about creating a positive impact through business and technology, and he brings that passion to our team from research on tax policy to growth strategy.
In addition to exploring a company’s mission, product, and market, Ben advises to also consider the company’s leadership.
“Make sure you really feel confident in the leadership of the startup,” Ben says. “At the end of the day, the success of early-stage startups is decided by the people working at the organization. This was a key consideration prior to interning for Sunny Day Fund as Sid is a phenomenal leader and has surrounded himself with the right people to successfully execute on the company’s mission.”
Ben also has positive feedback about his overall experience with the company. “My internship with Sunny Day Fund has been everything I’d hoped for and more! It has been very rewarding to work with an excellent group of coworkers toward the company mission of changing millions of lives across the country.”
We’re thrilled that Ben will continue working with the Sunny Day Fund on a part-time basis and join us full-time after his final year at the Darden School of Business.
3. Find work that allows you to have an actual impact.
Hitaansh is a first-year student at the University of Maryland. He was an amazing addition to our tech team this summer as a Software Analyst.
We learned that Hitaansh has a deep passion for entrepreneurship and aspires to start his own company one day, And, in the meantime, he loves to leverage tech to do data-driven storytelling.
Over the summer, Hitaansh learned technical skills and the administrative processes that startups/businesses go through. He also quickly became accustomed to various technologies (Angular, Strapi), scrum/agile methodology, and the quality assurance testing process.
According to Hitaansh, he especially enjoyed the work because he knew that his contributions were helping others improve their financial well-being.
“I would encourage others to explore startup internships,” he says. “It offers a unique experience and allows you to make an actual impact with your work. Knowing that what you are doing will positively impact someone else’s life is powerful and motivating.”
Hitaansh also has learned the importance of team communication.
“Anytime there seems to be a disconnect in what is expected and/or an administrative bottleneck stopping you from getting work done, it should be made clear to the entire team what the problem is,” he says. “This allows for the problem to be addressed and work to continue without much delay (especially at a startup where time is of the essence).”
4. Embrace open communication and collaboration.
Tonisha joined us from Virginia CommonWealth University as our amazing Product Marketing Intern.
The role allowed her to use her UX experience to connect with new customers, learn directly from current and future users, and curate a personalized, streamlined experience on the Sunny Day Fund platform.
Can you tell how passionate she is about her work? “When I signed up for this internship, I had no idea it would be so beneficial to my professional growth,” she says. “My favorite part about working with Sunny Day Fund is their continuous commitment to delivering seamless customer experiences.”
Tonisha also has advice when it comes to exploring startup internships. “Use this opportunity to be an active team player, be open to sharing tasks, and coordinate work with others. It was comforting to see that open communication was one of the most vital and most apparent skills I learned during my internship. ”
And according to Tonisha, “Some startups may only have a team of less than 20 or 10. But we at Sunny Day Fund are committed to ensuring that the customer’s needs are met no matter the size. That is the sort of dedication I strive to have while working in my profession going forward.”
5. Focus on building efficient processes and taking initiative.
William or “Tre” from Babson College served as a Workforce Financial Well-being Analyst, enabling our outreach team to do our best work this summer.
With Tre’s help, we were able to quickly identify and connect with employers thinking innovatively about their people and their bottom line. Tre’s patience and willingness to jump into any situation make him a great athlete, and soon-to-be extraordinary entrepreneur.
In addition to growing his entrepreneurship, finance, and persuasion skills, Tre’s experience working at SDF imparted lessons of daily organizational behaviors that he will continue to build from.
“Working at a young company, you learn quickly that efficiency is crucial to complete operational tasks and objectives,” Tre says. “Having the ability to quickly assess and analyze team goals through a guided system of best practice tools provided me clear insight into the organizational steps it takes to run an organized, efficient, and sustainable business.”
For those searching for an internship in the startup space, he has advice about the power of initiative. “Find ways to always involve yourself and explore ways to be a better team player,” he says. “Show a willingness to help team members and look for as many opportunities as possible to soak up information.”
His final thoughts about his internship experience? Like everyone else, it comes back to our mission. “What I liked most about Sunny Day Fund was working alongside people who are driven and passionate towards delivering the best service possible for American workers,” says Tre. “Being in an environment where people work with strong purpose made my experience with SDF so much more gratifying and fulfilling.”
We wish him a fantastic return to Babson College!!
Check out career opportunities with Sunny Day Fund
As the summer draws to a close, we can’t help but reminisce about the amazing memories that we shared with our interns, whose hard work and incredible insights enabled us to grow faster and better. A big thank you to them!
Which brings us to you! Are you interested in a career with Sunny Day Fund? View our current job opportunities here. We are looking for talent across product, engineering, and sales (bonus points if you have experience with employee benefits or fintech)! We offer meaningful roles with competitive pay (plus, you get our own Sunny Day Fund savings benefit with up to $2K in rewards!). If you’re ready for purpose beyond work, reach out! We’d love to hear from you.
Already have an offer from us or another startup? Check out more great insights about the startup offer and opportunity from Emma Silverman, Principal at our lead investor Trail Mix Ventures: “The Startup Offer: What to Consider, for Founders and New Hires.”