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Our Guide to Creating a Great Internship Program

Interns can have a huge—but too often overlooked—impact on your company culture, productivity, and talent pipeline. Here’s our approach to setting up a meaningful intern program.

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By
Julia Daniel
Julia Daniel
Matt Hoffman
Matt Hoffman
Sarah Levine
Sarah Levine
By M13 Team
Link copied.
December 13, 2023
|

4 min

At M13, we’re really proud of our intern program. Our interns get to do meaningful, hands-on work with partners, work directly with founders, help source and close core investments, and hang out with celebrities.

It’s a pretty good gig.


As we’ve refined our internship program over the last few years, we’ve learned a lot about what makes for a good experience on both sides. Below, we highlight some of the best practices to set up a successful program.

I can't recall the last 10-week period where I've learned as much as I have [at M13]. From my very first day, the investment team armed me with the tools, mentorship, and support to succeed.
Antonio Calderon, MBA Investment Associate Intern

Before the internship

Align on the details. Recruiting for an intern program is different from most hiring processes, which are more flexible about start date and location. Before jobs are even posted, align with hiring managers, recruiters, and internship facilitators to agree on salary, location, and program dates.

Consistency makes for a better experience, both for interns and employers. Our Diversity & Inclusion Recruiting Checklist can help you integrate diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging into your hiring processes early on.

Decide: graduating vs. non-graduating? As part of the alignment process, determine the profile of intern that best fits your program’s goals. Do you want to hire students who will be returning to school at the end of their internship, or do you want to hire graduating students?

While students who will be returning to school won’t be immediately able to join in full-time roles, they can help spread your employer brand within their network, organically growing your talent network. Even if your interns don’t end up joining your organization full time, a positive experience can prompt them to share your brand with their communities, universities, and personal networks.

Students who are graduating are more likely to desire a full-time offer at the end of their internship. If you know there will be no possibility of a full-time position later on, make sure to be transparent with the candidates during the hiring process. If there is potential for a more permanent role down the line, an internship could provide a good trial period and exposure to your company.


Post jobs early. Many students begin looking for summer internships as early as December or January. The earlier you post, the more competitive your program will be—and the more talent you’ll have available to you!

Pay your interns. These days, it’s more common than not for interns to be paid for their work. It’s a competitive landscape for talented people, especially MBA interns. Competitive payment can make your program enticing to top talent.

It’s important to create a similar compensation experience across your intern cohort; having some interns be paid and others getting course credit can result in an awkward dynamic. Align on compensation and communicate about it early in the recruitment process.

Being part of an intern cohort was so special—we were able to really bond, get to know other teams even better, and learn so much more than on our own.
Mimi Pham, Talent Operations & Analytics Intern

During the internship

Set up core projects. At M13, we’ve had success in centering internships around a Core Internship Project—a long-term impact project that interns present at the culmination of their internship.

These projects help interns focus their experience and help employers structure interns’ time into key deliverables. It also gives interns something tangible to include in their own portfolio, resume, and future job interviews.

Some projects may be apparent before an internship begins, while others will start to take shape in the first few weeks as hiring managers better understand interns’ strengths and interests. We recommend looking for cross-functional projects that allow interns to work with as many people as possible.

Some of our recent Core Internship Projects have included deep dives into investment thesis areas and creating a module for go-to-market product launches for our portfolio companies. We’ve also had interns write blog posts, such as From Web2 to Web3: What E-commerce Founders Need to Know and 9 Common Hiring Bias Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them.

Touch base regularly. Even if interns are part of different teams, it’s useful to have them come together as a cohort. Set up regular touch bases for interns to ask questions, share what they are working on, and raise any struggles or roadblocks.

We highly recommend offering in-person time in the office where possible. If no office is available, try to have an in-person event—ideally a couple days long—with hiring managers and the full intern cohort. This will let you give interns the full cultural experience of your team and get to spend time with each other in a non-work environment

Some of our “extracurricular” activities with interns have included floral design classes, hikes to Los Angeles monuments, Benihana-esque hibachi dinners with Paris Hilton, and tours of some of our portfolio companies’ headquarters.

For me, intern dock-in week was the highlight of the summer. I loved the opportunity to deepen relationships with the other interns and the rest of the M13 team through thoughtful, fun activities.
Andrea Moreno Zepeda, Launchpad Intern 2023

Support career development and mentorship. Allow interns to connect with senior leadership, even those they don’t work with directly. This will help them broaden their network and access to future opportunities, as well as to gain new career perspectives.

Internships offer invaluable time for career exploration. Setting aside dedicated time to discuss career paths and opportunities is time well spent, both for interns shaping their careers and for companies assessing interns’ skills and interests.

Mentorship pairings are a great option for supporting interns’ career growth and for helping full-time employees gain valuable people management experience.


Stay in touch. At the end of the internship, encourage your interns to add employees on LinkedIn and keep in touch with the people who have shaped their experience. An internship is often the start of a long-term relationship that can span companies and careers, and it can prove valuable to both employers and interns long after the experience has ended.

Thank you to our many wonderful interns who have made M13 a special place to be!

Join our community:

Interested in internship opportunities with M13 or our portfolio companies? Keep an eye on our careers page for the latest openings across our galaxy! We will begin recruiting summer 2024 interns in Q1 2024.

At M13, we’re really proud of our intern program. Our interns get to do meaningful, hands-on work with partners, work directly with founders, help source and close core investments, and hang out with celebrities.

It’s a pretty good gig.


As we’ve refined our internship program over the last few years, we’ve learned a lot about what makes for a good experience on both sides. Below, we highlight some of the best practices to set up a successful program.

I can't recall the last 10-week period where I've learned as much as I have [at M13]. From my very first day, the investment team armed me with the tools, mentorship, and support to succeed.
Antonio Calderon, MBA Investment Associate Intern

Before the internship

Align on the details. Recruiting for an intern program is different from most hiring processes, which are more flexible about start date and location. Before jobs are even posted, align with hiring managers, recruiters, and internship facilitators to agree on salary, location, and program dates.

Consistency makes for a better experience, both for interns and employers. Our Diversity & Inclusion Recruiting Checklist can help you integrate diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging into your hiring processes early on.

Decide: graduating vs. non-graduating? As part of the alignment process, determine the profile of intern that best fits your program’s goals. Do you want to hire students who will be returning to school at the end of their internship, or do you want to hire graduating students?

While students who will be returning to school won’t be immediately able to join in full-time roles, they can help spread your employer brand within their network, organically growing your talent network. Even if your interns don’t end up joining your organization full time, a positive experience can prompt them to share your brand with their communities, universities, and personal networks.

Students who are graduating are more likely to desire a full-time offer at the end of their internship. If you know there will be no possibility of a full-time position later on, make sure to be transparent with the candidates during the hiring process. If there is potential for a more permanent role down the line, an internship could provide a good trial period and exposure to your company.


Post jobs early. Many students begin looking for summer internships as early as December or January. The earlier you post, the more competitive your program will be—and the more talent you’ll have available to you!

Pay your interns. These days, it’s more common than not for interns to be paid for their work. It’s a competitive landscape for talented people, especially MBA interns. Competitive payment can make your program enticing to top talent.

It’s important to create a similar compensation experience across your intern cohort; having some interns be paid and others getting course credit can result in an awkward dynamic. Align on compensation and communicate about it early in the recruitment process.

Being part of an intern cohort was so special—we were able to really bond, get to know other teams even better, and learn so much more than on our own.
Mimi Pham, Talent Operations & Analytics Intern

During the internship

Set up core projects. At M13, we’ve had success in centering internships around a Core Internship Project—a long-term impact project that interns present at the culmination of their internship.

These projects help interns focus their experience and help employers structure interns’ time into key deliverables. It also gives interns something tangible to include in their own portfolio, resume, and future job interviews.

Some projects may be apparent before an internship begins, while others will start to take shape in the first few weeks as hiring managers better understand interns’ strengths and interests. We recommend looking for cross-functional projects that allow interns to work with as many people as possible.

Some of our recent Core Internship Projects have included deep dives into investment thesis areas and creating a module for go-to-market product launches for our portfolio companies. We’ve also had interns write blog posts, such as From Web2 to Web3: What E-commerce Founders Need to Know and 9 Common Hiring Bias Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them.

Touch base regularly. Even if interns are part of different teams, it’s useful to have them come together as a cohort. Set up regular touch bases for interns to ask questions, share what they are working on, and raise any struggles or roadblocks.

We highly recommend offering in-person time in the office where possible. If no office is available, try to have an in-person event—ideally a couple days long—with hiring managers and the full intern cohort. This will let you give interns the full cultural experience of your team and get to spend time with each other in a non-work environment

Some of our “extracurricular” activities with interns have included floral design classes, hikes to Los Angeles monuments, Benihana-esque hibachi dinners with Paris Hilton, and tours of some of our portfolio companies’ headquarters.

For me, intern dock-in week was the highlight of the summer. I loved the opportunity to deepen relationships with the other interns and the rest of the M13 team through thoughtful, fun activities.
Andrea Moreno Zepeda, Launchpad Intern 2023

Support career development and mentorship. Allow interns to connect with senior leadership, even those they don’t work with directly. This will help them broaden their network and access to future opportunities, as well as to gain new career perspectives.

Internships offer invaluable time for career exploration. Setting aside dedicated time to discuss career paths and opportunities is time well spent, both for interns shaping their careers and for companies assessing interns’ skills and interests.

Mentorship pairings are a great option for supporting interns’ career growth and for helping full-time employees gain valuable people management experience.


Stay in touch. At the end of the internship, encourage your interns to add employees on LinkedIn and keep in touch with the people who have shaped their experience. An internship is often the start of a long-term relationship that can span companies and careers, and it can prove valuable to both employers and interns long after the experience has ended.

Thank you to our many wonderful interns who have made M13 a special place to be!

Join our community:

Interested in internship opportunities with M13 or our portfolio companies? Keep an eye on our careers page for the latest openings across our galaxy! We will begin recruiting summer 2024 interns in Q1 2024.

The views expressed here are those of the individual M13 personnel quoted and are not the views of M13 Holdings Company, LLC (“M13”) or its affiliates. This content is for general informational purposes only and does not and is not intended to constitute legal, business, investment, tax or other advice. You should consult your own advisers as to those matters and should not act or refrain from acting on the basis of this content. This content is not directed to any investors or potential investors, is not an offer or solicitation and may not be used or relied upon in connection with any offer or solicitation with respect to any current or future M13 investment partnership. Past performance is not indicative of future results. Unless otherwise noted, this content is intended to be current only as of the date indicated. Any projections, estimates, forecasts, targets, prospects, and/or opinions expressed in these materials are subject to change without notice and may differ or be contrary to opinions expressed by others. Any investments or portfolio companies mentioned, referred to, or described are not representative of all investments in funds managed by M13, and there can be no assurance that the investments will be profitable or that other investments made in the future will have similar characteristics or results. A list of investments made by funds managed by M13 is available at m13.co/portfolio.