Meghan, a Tufts alumna, shared the following about her experience as a Business Development Intern with Cuisine en Locale …
What did you do as an intern at this organization?
The tasks I completed as an intern fell into two main categories: tasks to move along our business plan and preliminary outreach/research tasks related to new products and services. Related to the business plan, I performed market research, conducted financial analyses on revenue streams and buying patterns, and met with team members to gather information to complete the plan. For new products and services, I met with staff, performed market research, and wrote proposals for management team.
How did you find this internship?
As an economics student interested in food, agriculture and sustainability, I performed basic online searches to find organizations of interest to me and contacted them regarding potential internships.
What did you enjoy most about your internship?
Working at a start-up meant that the resources and time I brought to the table were extremely valuable to the company. I enjoyed being assigned tasks that were moving pieces of the bigger picture and important to larger projects; my work was not isolated and I got to see the end results. Furthermore, I enjoyed being part of a team and getting to work closely with each member of the company, from our sales manager to our business manager to the chefs. As our company was part of a larger local food movement, I also enjoyed opportunities to meet other players in that exciting field.
What did you find challenging?
Working at a start-up required flexibility and the ability to quickly react and adapt. Getting used to that type of work environment was challenging, especially as I was also getting used to the company itself. Tasks can change quickly, work that you finished can become irrelevant, you may be responsible for a task that you don’t feel equipped to handle, and some tasks are time-sensitive. However, learning how to operate productively in a start-up environment was one of the most valuable skills I gained.
What advice would you offer to someone who wants to make the most of an internship like yours?
Interning at a small company or a start-up has trade offs. You will probably get to do more hands-on, real-time work than interns at larger companies. However, it often means that there is no set protocol, or training for interns; you do a lot of your learning on the go. Make sure that you establish a good relationship with your supervisor and spend time developing a plan for responsibilities, feedback, etc. with them. Take the time to get to know your company. Do research beforehand, ask questions, and if possible, visit the office (or get a virtual tour) before your internship begins to understand the day-to-day operations.
About the Organization
Using local ingredients year-round in Massachusetts is no simple task, and we are often asked why we bother. The answer strikes to the heart of our company’s mission: To support the growth of farms and farmers, and increase the value of food in the area where we live, and eat. It’s a selfish mission, really: we want to eat real food, and we want to offer our family and friends that same opportunity. We are grateful every day for the farmers we buy our food from, and they are grateful for us. It is a simple, solid relationship of which we are proud. We would be honored to include you on the list of patrons who also care to put their money into food value.