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Student starts newsletter for those seeking internships at Pittsburgh start-ups

The internship scramble puts college students everywhere in the weird position of having to prove their worth to various companies over, and over, and over again. It's time-consuming, demoralizing, and can feel so consequential for students who need to earn money while still advancing their career.

Max Mirho, a junior studying business administration with a focus on entrepreneurship, worked with Pittsburgh start-ups that he knew were eager to hire Carnegie Mellon students. This sentiment did not align with the number of struggles his friends had every year, looking to work at a start-up. Thinking that there was something he could do to fix this information imbalance, he leveraged his contacts to start a biweekly newsletter for people looking to work at Pittsburgh start-ups, found at https://www.yespgh.com.

This journey started with an early success. “One of my friends, his name is Connor, was looking for specifically an internship at a start-up, hardware or software, he was interested in tech," said Mirho. "So I connected him with one of my friends that I knew at an accelerator locally and he connected with a start-up, and he managed to get an internship and he actually had a lot of fun with it!" This led him to understand that being able to facilitate contact between students and businesses interested in hiring students might be a way in which he could ease the process, which is often stressful on all sides. He thought: "Hey, I’m contributing a little bit of value here, maybe I can actually do this on a larger scale, because it’s not too hard to reach out to companies and it’s probably not too hard to reach out to students, and so I created a little newsletter.”

Mirho has seen more success in the reaching out to companies front than he has in getting students involved in his newsletter. Mirho is trying to establish a network of students at Carnegie Mellon and the University of Pittsburgh, but he has seen some challenges establishing his base.

Mirho found that talking to companies that he made contact with through accelerators or co-working spaces in Pittsburgh garners a more favorable response than students individually trying to contact companies. Though there is a need on the part of companies for student interns, if they don’t reach out, it’s hard to figure out which which companies have that need. Says Mirho, “Sometimes you try to create that need on your own, you don’t know if a company needs something so you try to convince them you need me, I’m a good intern, I can help you a lot. It’s kind of a battle on both sides and for some reason reaching out on behalf of the general student population and saying ‘Hey, if you have any internships open, I can post them here’ is a lot less irritating or intimidating to companies."

When asked about whether he is looking to expand into informing students about opportunities at more established companies, Mirho insisted that "the start-up focus is definitely key" due to the difficulty students generally have getting in touch with smaller businesses, because they don't have the infrastructure to reach out to students. Mirho advocates for the experience of working at a start-up, finding that the small team means you have contact with key decision makers "you have a much larger and versatile experience, it’s not like a larger company where you are jammed into one specific role."