CryptoOracle’s first class of 2018 (Left to right: Derek, Pablo, Jacky, Cole, Sena, Amanda, Lucy and Sunny) on our office rooftop at CryptoCommons

Building a Crypto Community One Intern At A Time

Dr. Alex Cahana
Aug 4, 2018 · 5 min read

5 things to do that will guarantee a successful internship

As the school year began to wind down, CryptoOracle sought to engage students for a summer internship — and for good reasons. Interns are an inexpensive resource and are among the most highly motivated members of the workforce, since people with internship experiences have higher rates of employment and higher starting salaries.

Launching an internship program is an excellent way to facilitate company success in terms of today’s workload and tomorrow’s workforce, however it is important to provide a learning experience where interns get hands-on training in real-life situations and mentoring.

In order to attract and retain top talent that often go for big-name businesses, I recommend 5 things that will guarantee an excellent internship:

#1 Understand what internships are really for

Many think of internships as an opportunity to achieve immediate objectives or find new team members to help grow business. However this ignores that:

  • Seventy-five million youth around the world are unemployed and triple that number are under-employed
  • Among working youth, only 55 percent have a job relevant to their studies, and 25 percent have unrelated interim jobs that they plan to leave quickly
  • Half of youth are not sure that their post-secondary education has improved their chances of finding a job
  • Almost 40 percent of employers say a lack of skills is the main reason for entry-level vacancies
The consequences of social and economic distress, when too many young people believe that their future is compromised cannot be ignored (McKinsey, Education to Employment Report, 2018)

In reality we are undergoing two related global crises: high levels of youth unemployment and a shortage of people with critical job skills. Internship programs can fill this education-to-employment gap.

#2. Find a reputable source for interns

With job unemployment at record low and intern-to-full-time-hire conversion rate at a 13-year high (NACE report), it is not surprising that many interns are referred by friends and family. Since intern hire is a complex process (below), I recommend that talent acquisition come from reputable sources.

An internship recruitment program is a multi-step process that requires to be planned, prepared, executed and troubleshooted. (as above)

Some of the internship agencies emphasize travel experiences, others competitive gain or both, yet it is important to work with a company that not only networks, recruits and vets interns, but offers students and job seekers complementary career skills (a career accelerator).

We are very fortunate to work with City Internships, a global, multi-sector learning provider that has robust connections to universities and education programs for college students, recent graduates and early-stage career-changers.

Career Design Lab is a hub of informed connectors, that help students and young alumni find their true ambition and explore career options in the community while motivating them to a meaningful path forward.

The need for these types of career accelerators is that many students and graduates are either ill-informed or not motivated enough to enter the job market. These credible resources can offer talented interns to companies.

65% of youth in the US are disengaged, disheartened or struggling to enter the job market (McKinsey, 2018)

3. Be Multidisciplinary- mix and match is good

As we built our internship we explicitly insisted having a multi-disciplinary group of recruits. The idea was not only to test-drive individual talent, but to bring on-board interns with diverse, novel perspectives, fresh ideas and specialized strengths and skill sets. Inter-professional interaction enriches not only the intern’s experience, but also augments the workforce capability.

Specifically we assigned our interns into 4 groups:

  • Lucy and Amanda from computer sciences developed a dApp.
  • Sunny, Jacky and Derek from business administration, finance and public policy performed an in-depth meta-analysis of the CryptoHealth landscape
  • Cole and Pablo from finances looked into security tokens, digital wallets, custodian services and crypto fund-related topics
  • Sena and Sean from graphic design and computer science provided us a multitude of online, social media and written-content creative projects
Interns and James Dix (lower right) at our weekly meeting sharing their projects (Yale Club Lounge)

4. Be unstructured by design- Freedom is harder but better

Previously, I posted why being structurally-unstructured, like Holocracy (decentralized management of self-organizing teams), is a good cultural fit with Crypto. We allowed our interns to self-assemble into teams, rotate at will and complete projects at their own pace.

We found this approach not only satisfactory, but extremely productive and I highly recommend NOT to be prescriptive when assigning work to interns.

Millennials and Gen Z’s expect an intimate, hands-on learning approach

“Offering us options and letting us decide what to do was awesome! Treating me like a responsible adult was by far the best part of the whole experience!” (Literally every intern during their exit interview)

It is however important to provide interns with:

  • Recommended reading list
  • Dedicated space where they can interact among themselves
  • Weekly follow ups
  • Thematic brown bag lunches (below)
  • Final presentation
Lou Kerner (upper right) is mesmerizing the interns during our weekly brown bag lunch

5. It must be Fun- Interns are an important part of the crypto-community

An internship is a unique opportunity to create Good Will Ambassadors that will educate family, friends and the public about blockchain.

All but one entered our internship as a crypto-skeptic or crypto-neophyte and all left Crypto-enthusiasts. They are now our community and our voice to society at large.

“Blockchain is so much more than bitcoin going up and down” — Jacky

“I didn’t know there are so many case uses for blockchain” — Derek

“In the beginning I thought blockchain was kind of scammy. Now I know its the future” — Cole

After this summer, on behalf of CryptoOracle, I would like to thank our amazing interns for their integrity, hard work and for what they taught us.

Monday, they will be missed…

Chilling on our office rooftop at CryptoCommons

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Thought leaders in all things Crypto

Dr. Alex Cahana

Written by

Veteran, Philosopher, Physician who lived 4 lives in 1. Conceptualist, CryptoHealth Sherpa, Advises HealthCare Leaders, Entrepreneurs


Thought leaders in all things Crypto

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