2019 Parents Fund Internship Grant Reflections: Sofia Chen

Sofia Chen

Internship Location: 24/7 Teach

Journal Entry #1:

Hi, my name is Sofi and I'm a Business Development intern for 24/7 Teach, an organization dedicated to making education more equitable, accessible, and relevant. My first few tasks for 24/7 Teach have really started to help me understand the mission of the company, its work culture, and also helped me establish what my goals are for this internship and where my strengths and passions fit into the mission.

My first task as a Business Development intern was to learn about the Hedgehog Concept that the company has adopted, in which team members are divided based on strengths and passions, but collaborate to work towards one central mission. This has given me an opportunity to meet a lot of different people within the organization, from the CEO, to my team leaders, to other interns in a wide range of positions working both locally and internationally.

Recently, I brought a new idea to adapt some of the already-existing programs to better suit high school students. These would be turned into internship positions where students can not only custom-create their own role, but receive one-on-one mentorship with a professional in their field of interest, and have access to online courses that teach them valuable skills for their internship and career. The autonomy I have in my internship experience is extremely valuable because I was encouraged to take this idea and turn it into a project for myself. In the next coming weeks, I will be working on building this program, creating its business model, then working with a team to market and sell this program to high schools all over the country. This internship gives me an incredible opportunity to build something that I'm passionate about.

The mentorship I've received so far is also extremely helpful and is something I will value for the rest of my career. I've had the chance so far to talk to the CEO, my team leader, and a more experienced intern who is also pursuing a career in Business. They have coached me through many leadership skills, as well as Business principles that I was unfamiliar with. Overall, I feel very fortunate to received such personalized advice, and the time and individual attention I receive from the organization leaders make me feel valued and motivated.

My goals for this internship are to create value for high school students by learning to sell and communicate effectively with potential partners, and to also challenge myself to dive into a different aspect of business that I have never experienced.

Journal Entry #2:

The past two months as a Business Development intern for 24/7 Teach has already given me experience in a variety of tasks for a career in business, but it has especially shaped my business intuition and communication skills.

For the past few weeks, I have worked to develop a new pilot program providing internship opportunities for high school students, in addition to access to numerous online courses. Designed similarly to internship programs that the organization already has in place, this fellowship program has an emphasis on the development of a student's skills. The program highlights the cohort and mentorship opportunities and allows students to receive high school credit for their work.

Stepping into this role of building this program almost from scratch, I had very little business intuition to guide the process of shaping and marketing the product. However, I received weekly mentoring with multiple team leaders within the organization, who guided me with critical business questions to think about, such as how to build a solution that fit a customer's needs, where to find customers, and how to build a team around this project. Over the past few weeks, I have been regularly reaching out to school districts, career counselors, and high school principals as an active listener in order to gain valuable insight into my customer segment. I also got the chance to work with other remote interns in analyzing cost and pricing models for the new product. At the moment, we were able to successfully produce a minimum viable product, and our objective now is to begin marketing our fellowship program to schools with the hope that customers will provide us feedback on how to even better cater to students' needs.

My work on this project has been an extremely valuable learning experience, as I've been able to be hands-on with creating an entirely new product from scratch, conducting my own analyses of our customer, brand, revenues, and costs. It's also given me an opportunity to connect directly with educators. This allows me to hear exactly the types of issues students and teachers run into, and to create a solution that is individualized for each school and student.