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'Intern from Home,' created by recent Brown graduates, sees growth during pandemic

Remote opportunities increase as companies shift to remote work

At the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic back in March, recent Brown graduates Chuck Isgar ’20.5 and Megan Kasselberg ’20 started Intern from Home, an online platform that connects students seeking internships with companies in need. As the pandemic wore on and companies shifted to conducting business virtually, Intern from Home quickly gained popularity with both students and businesses. Although the company has grown and established itself nationally in the virtual internship recruiting space, its driving principle remains the same: Make sure every internship experience is a meaningful opportunity for both the student and the company, Isgar told The Herald. 

Isgar and Kasselberg founded Intern from Home in order to help alleviate the stress many students were feeling as the uncertainty of the pandemic weighed on them. Initially, they aimed to help students find something to do for about six weeks, Kasselberg said, “until the pandemic blew over.” 

But as those six weeks came and went, Intern from Home began to adapt to facilitate the growing need for summer opportunities as the internships students previously had lined up were cancelled. While summer was a very busy time for Intern from Home, it showed Isgar and Kasselberg the high demand for a platform like theirs.

“Creating (summer) internships that were virtual so that our friends could have something to put on their resumes and get connected with other people trying something new is really fulfilling,” Kasselberg said.

Since graduating, Isgar has continued to work full-time on Intern from Home while Kasselberg has also taken on the role of content strategist for Google. But both of them and their team of seven, made up of a mix of Brown students and alumni, are committed to building up the company as it gains popularity, Isgar said. 

While still using Facebook and Twitter to communicate about the platform, Intern from Home’s frequent newsletter allows users to stay informed about current offerings. The newsletter communicates deadlines for featured roles and are “packed with personality,” Kasselberg said. They used to list every single available internship role, but it has become impossible to list all of the offerings now that hundreds of companies, ranging from nonprofits to startups, are involved. 

The free platform is especially helpful to startups, which often do not have the capital to spend thousands of dollars on an intern recruiting service, yet still need talented interns. Shekar Ramaswamy ’21, founder of Orbyt, and Kailah Matyas, a talent strategist for Embarc Collective, both utilized Intern from Home to fill internship roles. 

Orbyt is a digital tool that curates updates about a user’s personal and professional connections by pulling information from a variety of sources, such as LinkedIn, in order to keep them informed about their network. When looking for a design intern, Ramaswamy posted a listing on Intern from Home and found success. 

The intern “pretty much designed our mobile app from scratch,” Ramaswamy said. “She was really the point person and really helped out.” 

Embarc Collective is a technology innovation hub that assists and oversees a number of growing start-ups, providing support through coaching and professional introductions. Many of the start-ups under Embarc Collective’s purview have found success on Intern from Home. Matyas checks in quarterly with Embarc Collective’s member companies to assess their needs in order to post job listings for them on Intern from Home. They typically seek to fill a demand for technical interns, those with backgrounds in computer science, engineering, business operations or marketing, Matyas said. 

Some interns are doing more than just basic “intern work” and are playing a major role in the success of startups. 

“We hear from founders all the time that they attribute much of their success and growth to the interns they are finding through our platform,” Isgar said. “A lot of those interns who have found roles have gone on to be hired in full-time roles for these companies.” 

Last summer, Embarc Collective filled 40 percent of internships for their member companies through Intern from Home and at least one company hired their intern in a full time position. 

Intern from Home prides itself on supporting a diverse pool of students from around 400 colleges and universities including Ivy Leagues and Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Students who have been historically unable to access in-person internships have more flexibility now that they are virtual, according to Kasselberg. 

The platform has streamlined the recruiting process, making it easy for companies like Orbyt and Embarc Collective to fill intern listings. Prospective interns still apply through a Google Form, but the infrastructure behind that process has “gotten a bit more sophisticated as we’ve grown and scaled,” Isgar said. Once the Google Form is received and reviewed by companies, they will often invite applicants to a Zoom or phone call to assess fit and qualifications.

While Intern from Home was initially thought up to serve a pandemic-stricken world, Isgar and Kasselberg are confident that it will remain a relevant platform as many companies turn to virtual work permanently.  

“In the long term, we see so many strategic benefits for companies,” Kasselberg said. “There’s a bunch of data to show that employees are on the whole happier when they’re able to work from home … What’s really exciting for us is we are pioneers in this (virtual internship) space.”

Many companies agree that working remotely is here to stay and plan to continue using Intern from Home once the COVID-19 pandemic ends. “I can speak for tech companies in particular that being physically present isn’t a requirement to get good work done,” Ramaswamy said. 

Isgar and Kasselberg are enthusiastic and optimistic about the future of the platform.  

“This is not a patchwork solution,” Isgar said “This is the future and we are helping build out the future right now. We just want to continue to do it on a larger and larger scale.”


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