The Startup Life: Narragansett and Other Ventures

Narragansett Logo

Narragansett Logo

What company were you working at?

I worked for a Boston entrepreneur, Eric Spitz, supporting numerous projects:

1)      Raising 500k for a social media startup.

2)     Raising 5MM to spin out a services company in the renewable energy space.

3)     Private purchase of a New England media company.

4)      Sales strategy for Narragansett Brewing Co.

What was your position at the company?

No official title.

Why did you choose that internship?

For the beer.  Working for the CFO of a beer company has certain perks.  It was not uncommon to sample the product at lunch, host afternoon business meetings over a few drinks, and take a few cases home at the end of the day.  Aside from the beer, working on the diversity of projects, industries, and company stages seemed too interesting to pass up.  I was nervous to turn down a corporate job with a brand name but figured this was the best time to step outside my comfort zone and try something I would probably be too afraid to try again mid career.

What was the company culture like?

Was great!  Serious work but always made time for happy hour.

 What was the best part about working there?

Happy Hour was on the clock and usually free.

You don’t get kicked out of a closing bar when you are hanging out with the bar owner.

Drinking late with your boss means no discerning eye when you sleep in to recover before going to work the next day.

Working with someone who has started 3 companies.

What part needed improvement?

Working in such a casual environment and on so many projects meant there was little overall structure to my summer experience.  Daily work was very reactive and it was hard to dedicate more than a few hours to any one project before something else needed attention.

What did you do before HBS, and how did your summer compare?

I worked for Walt Disney Imagineering as a Show Producer designing theme park attractions.  While my summer tragically did not involve riding any roller coasters, I can’t complain even in the shadow of working for the mouse.  This summer has been quite unique and full of valuable experiences I never got at Disney.  Working side by side with a seasoned entrepreneur, getting in the room with VC’s to pitch a business plan, building my first non-academic financial model, even meeting the mayor of Boston at a startup event.  It has been a great summer.

Any advice for students who may want to follow in your footsteps?

1)      Don’t be afraid to step outside your comfort zone for the summer, it’s probably one of the last few times you can do this safely.

2)     Don’t be discouraged by the length of the internship hunt, finding a unique experience could take a while and you may be one of the last people you know to lock something down.

3)     Try to avoid drunken interviews.  Bars as an interview location are also not advisable.  Unless of course you really want to work for a beer company, in which case, it might just work.  It did for me.

September 8, 2011
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