Skandalaris Center Internship Program - for students
Please read below for important details re dates, expectations, etc., as you are responsible for this information, but quick highlights include:
- Deadline to apply is 10 am, Monday, February 2
- Log in to Portfolio and search for "Skandalaris" to complete the application
- Thursday, February 5, 4PM is when you can meet organizations approved to host an intern
The Skandalaris Center Internship Program offers several opportunities for students to participate in an entrepreneurial summer experience. The Center coordinates internships at startup and growth companies in St. Louis, including Answers, Inc (founded by WUSTL alumni and headquartered in the Delmar Loop) and at a number of entrepreneurial organizations in San Francisco and New York. For information about opportunities outside St. Louis, please contact Jessica Stanko in the Skandalaris Center.
In St. Louis, we have subsidized paid internships at local startups since 2002, but were substantially able to grow the startup program in 2008 with a gift from Bob and Julie Skandalaris. The program has been further supported with gifts from the founders of Answers, Inc. and Wells Fargo Advisors. We consider a venture – either commercial or social – to be in the “startup” phase if it has raised less than $1 million or employs fewer than 15. The support system for entrepreneurs in St. Louis has grown tremendously since the start of the program, and many of the companies initially supported through the program, as well as others beyond the “startup” phase still look to the Skandalaris Center for connections to our entrepreneurial students. The Skandalaris Center also helps match these "growth" companies with students, but any salary paid is negotiated between them. Only startups are eligible for the Skandalaris subsidy of $5,000, paid as a stipend to the student.
|Startup || Growth |
|Stipend ||$5,000 paid through WUSTL payroll ||Salary negotiated by student (see FAQ below) |
|Length ||10 weeks, from June 1 to August 7 ||Negotiated by student |
|Eligibility ||Rising sophomores, juniors, and seniors ||Rising juniors and seniors; graduate and professional students; December 2014 and May 2015 graduates |
|Benefits ||Access to wide-ranging responsibilities in small entrepreneurial environment with direct access to the founder ||Focused internship in student's area of expertise on an entrepreneurial team |
Skandalaris Summer Fridays
Another important difference - and a valuable component for the students working at startups - is the Friday programming that the Skandalaris Center coordinates, for the purpose of providing practical, hands-on learning for students, while introducing them to the larger St. Louis community and the thriving support system for entrepreneurs. The Skandalaris internship is an intensive introduction to St. Louis, to the world of startups, entrepreneurship, and innovation. We expect Skandalaris interns to fully engage in all activities and apply what you are learning on Fridays to your internship and what you are learning at your venture to your Friday experiences. Attendance at Summer Fridays is required for all students.
Summer Fridays provide opportunities for you to experience entrepreneurship from a variety of perspectives. On Friday mornings, you will visit an entrepreneurial organization and neighborhood on your own, on site visits coordinated by the Skandalaris Center. This includes visiting the city's interesting and diverse, though sometimes economically challenging, neighborhoods. Site visits may include visiting a co-working space or incubator, taking a tour, or spending time with a local entrepreneur working to address the challenges and promote the opportunities in the neighborhood. We include lunch as part of the neighborhood visit, then you will return to campus in the afternoon to attend a workshop, hear from an entrepreneur, or engage in a reflection period with Skandalaris Center staff and fellow interns. Students may also work on a summer-long project, with all students providing input based on your own educational background and summer work experience.
|Did you know... |
- Missouri’s entrepreneurial activity nearly tripled in three years, moving from 35th to 6th nationally in the 2011 Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurial Activity.
- Funding and mentoring for new ventures has increased substantially in a short time with the addition of Capital Innovators, T-REx, Arch Grants, and the St. Louis Startup Challenge.
- In its first seven years, the startup program subsidized more than 150 interns, representing each of Washington University's undergraduate schools, at a like number of ventures.
- More than twenty ventures have hired interns in multiple years and several students have participated in multiple years.
Applications, eligibility, and matching
Both students and sponsoring organizations complete an application to be approved for the program. The student application is available through Portfolio and includes short answer questions about entrepreneurial interests and career goals, and students upload their resume. The Skandalaris Center will contact you when your application is approved. Hosts complete their own applications, and students may browse those applications online. We will open the link when host applications start to come in and are approved for 2015. We ask both students and host organizations to apply by 10 am Monday, February 2, so applications may be approved before our IdeaBounce® event on February 5.
At the IdeaBounce® event, approved host organizations briefly describe their opportunity, and you will introduce yourselves, in a classroom or auditorium setting. We then host a reception so students and your potential summer hosts can connect and learn more about each other and the opportunities each provides to the other. Most “matches” don’t occur at the IdeaBounce®, which is typically followed by a more in-depth and traditional interview. The Center also provides all approved student applications to approved host organizations. Sometimes ventures may reach out to a student even before the matching event.
You are also welcome to recruit an organization you find through your own network and resources, though be careful not to commit to the organization until the Skandalaris Center approves it. The venture pays no fee to apply, but pays a minimum of $1,000 to host an intern, and more information about the host application and approval process is here.
When the student and host mutually agree to work together for the summer, you must both notify the Skandalaris Center so we can allocate the funds, which happens on a first-come, first-served basis. The Center funds 25 startup internships and does not subsidize internships at growth companies.
Frequently Asked Questions
Am I eligible?
As long as you are an undergraduate returning for the Fall 2015 semester, you are eligible for the $5,000 stipend. Graduate and profesisonal students, December 2014 and May 2015 grads may still apply and we can help you connect with entrepreneurial opportunities, but you are not eligible for the stipend. You may of course negotiate a salary with the host.
What majors are accepted?
ALL majors are welcome! In fact, we want to see many different majors and schools represented to increase the value of interdisciplinary interactions through the summer Fridays.
I am an international student - can I still apply?
Yes! As long as your visa status allows you to work for the university, international students are eligible, since payment comes through the University payroll system. If you have visa questions, contact the Office of International Students & Scholars.
How does the subsidy or stipend work for startups?
The student receives a $5,000 stipend paid through University payroll on May 29, June 30, July 31, and August 31. The stipend is $500 in May and August and $2,000 in June and July, for a total of $5,000. Taxes are not withheld. Stipends are not reported as wages so are not included on the W-2. Instead, stipends are reported on a "fellowship letter." A sample and information about taxability is here.
How does the salary work for growth companies?
Salary is negotiated entirely by the student and may be paid direct from the company to the student. If a growth company prefers, the Center is able to bill the company for salary to be paid to the student plus an administrative fee to have the student receive payment through WUSTL payroll rather than direct from the company.
What are the housing arrangements?
Housing is up to each individual. Students can apply to live on campus through Residential LIfe, or opt to live off campus. Students living on campus will be billed for housing through your student account, and responsible for all charges.
Am I responsible for finding my own startup?
Finding, no...attend our match event February 5 to meet the ventures who have applied and been approved for the subsidy. Matching, yes...as with the real world, it's up to you to make the connection, impress the venture, and get the job offer. Also if you are already working with a startup, they may apply to be part of the program but be careful not to make a commitment until the Skandalaris Center approves them.
What makes an ideal candidate?
Entrepreneurial mindset, flexibility, motivation, passion for innovation - we have high expectations of student engagement during the summer! Don't apply if you're only looking for a paid internship or just want to stay in St. Louis - apply because you want to get connected to the community, to other students outside your school, and because you want to find out more about your own entrepreneurial aspirations or abilities.
What is there to do in St. Louis during the summer?
So much! Here are 25 things to do in the summer and the 2014 guide to all the festivals (most of them are annual).
Comments from past interns
- I gained greater insight about how valuable it is to be collaborative and flexible. I also learned more about economic development in terms of small business.
- Even for a non-profit the business still needs to find a way to break even. This often includes thinking of creative ways to generate revenue or funding. Entrepreneurship covers such a wide spectrum of skills; so many details go into starting a business, many of which I hadn't thought about before.
- My internship taught me the importance of being flexible and willing to adapt to an ever-changing set of circumstances. The company often had a set of goals it wanted to accomplish. However, how we accomplished those goals was often much different than we had originally planned.
- Being involved with a start-up allowed me to understand many of the details and strategy that are involved with getting this type of venture "off the ground." In addition, it exposed me to some very high-energy, bright people. Finally, working with the company allowed me to be exposed to a new industry.
- I learned that integrity and the ability to work with people are more important than anything else in business — you can learn everything else you need to know along the way. Flexibility, patience, determination and optimism are extremely valuable qualities for anyone interested in an entrepreneurial venture. At the end of the day, it means a lot to know that my work can have tangible, meaningful, positive impact on the world around me.
- My internship experience altered my view of what it takes to survive as an entrepreneur. It also helped me focus my career search and helped me understand what I want to do after school. It was a truly valuable experience.
Answers was founded by alumni entrepreneurs David Karandish and fellow engineer and business partner Chris Sims, both from the class of 2005. With headquarters in the Delmar Loop, Answers is one of the top destinations for Q&A content on the web. In 2012 they hired twelve Washington University interns from Arts & Sciences and Engineering who were responsible for building content, designing some of the more than 150 vertical sites owned by Answers, and addressing business issues. The students had a glimpse into the strategic operations of one of the hottest Internet companies in the world. In summer 2013 and 2014 they hired additional interns. Since the company is beyond the startup phase, they work closely with Washington University’s Career Center, though the Skandalaris Center remains connected to the company and its founders. Read more about Answers, David and Chris, or the interns’ experience here.
If you have questions, please contact Jessica Stanko in the Skandalaris Center at 314.935.9134 or firstname.lastname@example.org.