Welcome to Friday’s Episode of Ask Ash where today, I asked WatchMojo Founder and CEO Ashkan Karbasfrooshan about WatchMojo’s Media and Finance Internship Program, a Cohort that started last year when COVID-19 took a huge hit on people’s personal, and professional lives. As I am currently a part of this year’s cohort, I thought it would be interesting to dive into some of his thoughts on the program, and if he thinks that this program will continue.
1) What led you to the idea of creating the Media & Finance Internship Program?
For starters I’ve always been a big believer in education. After graduating from business school I continued to lecture undergrad, graduate and PhD students as a teacher’s assistant. Over the course of WatchMojo’s 15 year history we’ve always also recruited actively by offering paid internships and paid apprenticeships, and frankly some of our top stars today hail from that informal recruiting lane.
With regards to the existing WatchMojo media and finance internship this year is the second cohort: last year when Covid hits and so many students lost out on internship opportunities I wanted to help in any small way possible and so more or less on a whim but also of a desire to do this for a very long time, I posted something on LinkedIn and a lot of people reached out. One of them was Frank who now heads up our podcasting efforts. I discussed it a bit in the finding your voice article on context is king.
Overall it was a good experience even though last year was a bit chaotic given the fog of war state of the pandemic, but the main takeaway was to structure it in a way where:
– we would add young professionals who are either still in school or recently graduated,
– match them with an individual employee,
– have them focus on a given department,
– work on a number of projects and
– if ideally one of them takes off great, and if none of those projects take off, then it’s not the end of the world as the internship is over; we get some learnings and the intern gets a ton of experience.
As I’ve alluded to in many articles in the past they had a tendency to hire very aggressively for positions that were not generating any revenue and projects that were extremely embryonic and when those initiatives did not take off or bear fruit, I had to find new projects to keep the individuals engaged and active even if financially it didn’t make sense. I have never really embraced or been comfortable with the “hire slow, fire fast” mantra. This was in line with my people’s profit principle, but I knew I needed to refine the tactic and approach.
2) What has been your favorite aspect of the internship program so far?
Honestly I’m very fortunate to have the best partner in my wife and cofounder. I am also extremely lucky to have three other co-founders whom I’ve worked with since day one: honest, loyal, hard-working, who have helped me build WatchMojo into what it is today. But the reality is that the team is very much focused on the core business which is a machine that is well oiled and more about refinement and repetition. As a entrepreneur I’m always coming up with new ideas and projects, and working with a brand new young team adds a lot of excitement and allows me to build start ups within a scale-up.
3) Do you see the internship program continuing after this summer?
Yes of course it’s fluid if some candidates have a successful internship and want to continue working that is certainly an option. If others want to take a break to return to school and even go onto work elsewhere, more power to them, hopefully, this internship was a win-win. I definitely plan on having a third cohort in 2022 which will probably be hybrid meaning the possibility of working in our office but also working remote so that we can create these opportunities for everybody around the world.
As always, if you would like to ask questions to Ash directly, you can do so by clicking the link here: