I hope your Thursday is going well. Welcome back to another episode of Ask Ash, where I interview WatchMojo Founder & CEO Ashkan Karbasfrooshan and ask him questions about various topics, ranging from covering what is going on in the news, to career advice for students & entrepreneurs.
Today is National Intern Day, and many companies are sharing their appreciation for the work that the interns are doing for the company. I know that at WatchMojo, the interns are working hard, and it was shown by being featured on the Instagram Story of WatchMojo’s Official Instagram Account! (Check that out if you haven’t already). I wanted to get Ash’s thoughts and see how he thinks the Internship Program has gone, and if he would change anything about it.
How do you think the Internship Cohort is going on so far?
This second edition of the Media & Finance internship was a bit more ambitious in that we offered a handful of internships to people across North America. I felt it would mean a lot to each person, but also knew that it could mean a lot to the company… we tried to determine what each person’s strengths and weaknesses were, where their interests lied, and then tried to match that with a growth area we wanted to pursue.
The reality is when you cover pop culture, you need youth more than youth need you.
I love helping others, giving back, and am ultimately here to serve. As I alluded to in a previous article, we have always offered paid internships to students, many of whom went on to grow into manager roles over the years (before society and industry woke up to realize that the unpaid internships were not exactly fair or ethical).
Everyone seems to be enjoying it, and while doing this in a WFH formation isn’t optimal, to put it mildly, I think that to students, it’s a welcome addition and as you have been in classes virtually, then I shouldn’t complain (haha).
I always say that anyone – including the latest intern – could one day grow to become the company CEO.
I think each one of you is helping us plant a seed, and ideally, it makes sense for individuals to stay with the organization, but as per my previous comment, if people leave and go on to have wonderful careers elsewhere, then we can take pride in knowing we helped the individual a little bit in their journey to greater things.
If you could go back and change anything about the program, would you? If so, what would it be?
Well obviously not being in an office adds complexity but always seeing the silver lining, the reality is someone like you may not have been able to intern with us since we’re headquartered in Montreal.
But of course, training and development are harder. You can’t put a cohort in a room and help them develop communication and teamwork skills.
On the flip side, it encourages initiative on your part, which is a super key ingredient to success.
Giving back, helping.
There are many things I wish we did better or done differently, but overall I am very happy, and not just for the obvious reasons. We have always hired aggressively through a paid apprenticeship program for young graduates with little experience, whom we could invest and train in before determining culture fit and whether they wanted to pursue an office job. Instead of hiring 1-2 people, we hired 20+ in 2017-18! We didn’t hire youth to have them get us lunch, we hired people and gave them a platform; but as Jack Welch would say, not everyone has the runway or drive. After all, we were largely recruiting aspiring creatives and/or fans of pop culture, and not engineers or accountants. So for me, I loved being able to help others with the opportunity and foot in the door, but if it didn’t work out, then it would still be a constructive step for the individual and additive for the organization.
The only thing I would change, and we made this change early on was involving the interns more with executives and other staff. I am so proud and happy with my team, and how we have delivered during the pandemic is impressive… so I didn’t want to add more oversight and managerial duties to my team. But in hindsight, I certainly could have and should have looped everyone in a bit more, which we did.
Lastly, if you want to submit questions to Ash directly, you can do so by clicking the link here: https://watchmojo.com/suggest/AskMojo%20-%20WatchMojo’s%20founder%20Ash