For many college students, the opportunity to work at a startup is often lost in the complexity of the job search. The process is overwhelming, especially when trying to find a job that is not only convenient but also works well into a student’s academic workload. However, what I’ve come to learn after interviewing Teddy Crowther (26') and Drew Botta (26'), interns turned full-time employees at Boston College health startup, Vitaliti, is the uniquely enriching and flexible aspects of working at a startup as a college student. Sure these are attractive terms to describe the job of being a startup employee, but what is the evidence actually supporting it? Let’s get into it by discussing what Teddy and Drew are doing at Vitaliti, how they found themselves working in the startup world, and what some of their biggest takeaways are from their experience so far.
Though many of their projects overlap, Teddy and Drew actually work on opposite sides of the company, with Teddy focusing on the product development side as a research analyst, and Drew on the business development side as a marketing analyst. Though these are their “official titles”, Teddy and Drew both stressed numerous times throughout the interview that “each week the work is different from the previous.” One of the main contributors to this I learned during our conversation was the fact that many of the projects they work on are not handed to them with a set list of instructions, but are rather creations and ideas of their own. Drew, who as a marketing analyst runs the majority of the company’s social media presence, alluded to this by noting that in the span of a week’s time he learned “what a # is” in the sense of leveraging online posts, and in contrast was simultaneously doing research on what a value proposition is and how to write one. Teddy further built on this notion, noting that his favorite thing about the gig is the seemingly limitless range of tasks he has, and the experience and knowledge that accumulates over time in going from learning how to acquire a lab for product development to researching the due diligence required in acquiring potential patents.
Now that we’ve developed a more sound understanding of what the day-to-day is as a student employee at a startup, let’s dive deeper into what the contrast is between a conventional job environment and a startup job environment. After asking Teddy and Drew this question, both of them immediately expressed how collaborative their roles are in comparison to previous jobs they worked. They continued by describing how a significant portion of the work they are doing, the entire team is figuring out how to do it on the fly which essentially forces everyone to work together and as a team to problem solve. “It’s honestly been one of the most rewarding aspects of the job,” said Teddy. “Everyone is in on it together, and we are all passionate, so most of the time it barely feels like work”. This leads to another point that personally struck me and was rather inspiring: the fact that in comparison to any standard job, when you work at a startup you get the sense that you are “building something special”, and as Teddy put it, “you get to watch it grow and grow and grow and soon enough you become really attached to the goal.”
At this point, you may be asking yourself, “well how do I even get involved with a startup?”, or “what are the skills required to get a job offer from one?”, which after hearing how highly Teddy and Drew spoke of their jobs, was where I found myself. Before meeting with Teddy and Drew, the possibility of getting involved with a startup seemed near impossible given simply the limited experience that I have; however, Drew remedied this with his testimony of how he was in the exact same boat. “When I applied I didn’t really have any specific skills to bring to the table, so I just tried to sell myself as a person and that I’d do anything,” he said, highlighting an important note: to work at a startup, there are no prerequisite hard skills required, just “a passion for the project.” Teddy also expanded on this with a similar perspective to Drew, adding that all you really need is: one, a passion for the work you are doing, and second, a “curiosity,” a key trait for the high amount of time you spend trying to figure out how to complete one of the varying tasks you’ll have while working at a startup.
I hope that both the testimonies of Drew and Teddy have supplied enough evidence by now to convince you of those terms I mentioned at the start: the uniquely enriching and flexible aspects of working at a startup. The work that both of them do at Vitaliti is unlike any other work you’ll find at any conventional job, and as they mentioned, the barriers to entry in getting involved with a startup are virtually non-existent, all you need is passion and curiosity, and the rest you’ll pick up along the way! For those interested in learning more about the opportunities we have at BC for entrepreneurship, or for finding startups that are looking for interns and employees, I encourage you to visit the Start@Shea website or just come give us a visit at room 202 in 245 Beacon Street!
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The Author: Joe Anania ‘26