In the summer of 2015, I was given the opportunity to intern at Lightbox, a venture capital firm located in Mumbai, India. Being a second year high school student, I had no idea what to expect of the company, let alone the radical business world of India. I had come to learn about the business world, witness in real time how a company works and how to survive in that world. This trip was the first time I had stayed away from home or even been to India for more than a month so as you can imagine, it was slightly terrifying.
As I walked in on my first day, I immediately noticed the open and unique flow to the office. Unlike the stereotypical cubical offices, this layout, as I realized throughout the weeks, prompted open discussions and group collaboration as we worked. This unique, start up mentality carried on in everything that took place. I was introduced to many people then immediately put to work. One of my first tasks was to deep dive into three companies and understand the ins and outs of each. Next, provide insight on how to improve the companies and their app interface.
I worked on these assignments for the next three weeks and truly experienced the magnificent environment that Lightbox has created. As I developed my presentations, everyone was so open and willing to help. No question was off limits and I was encouraged to ask whenever I needed help. They taught me how research, look, think and analyze companies effectively and efficiently.
Most importantly, though, Lightbox changed my view of the world and taught me to push my limits by going above and beyond. How to take my work one step further and better succeed in any environment I was put in. To think in different ways, from different perspectives and with different objectives. The experience changed me for the better in a million ways.
The Lightbox family is exactly that - a family. Throughout the trip, I became part of it. We bonded as a team and with every presentation, conference, discussion, thought and idea we became stronger. Lightbox as a company has succeeded so well because of this. Its internship program exceeded every expectation I had and has prepared me so well for the real world. I am truly honored to have been a part of it.
I came to Lightbox looking for a taste of the real world but instead, I got the experience of a lifetime, a real, up-close look at business in Asia and a chance to work aside the greatest family ever.
What are you doing now?
Right now I am developing an app and launching my own company. I'm also applying to colleges for next year.
What is venture capital to you?
Investing in ideas and concepts that have the potential to succeed. It's about helping and growing with your portfolio companies, providing them with the knowledge they need to make smart decisions for their future.
How do you see technology changing India in the next 10 years?
Technology is the future. In every industry whether it be transportation, agriculture, or even medicine, technology will play a key role in its' evolution. India's industries are no exception. Technology is opening new doors and creating new innovations that are faster, smarter and more efficient than previous solutions. In my opinion, India is just beginning to see the power technology has and it will be growing exponentially over the next ten years.
What’s the best insider tip you'd give a new intern?
Find out what you are passionate about and work hard at it. Understand your strengths so that you may add value to the project or company. Don't be afraid to put in the extra hours and constantly seek to improve on what you have. Think outside of the box, show others how you think differently than them and use that to your advantage.
Lastly, and most importantly, approach everything with an open mind. Be confident in preparation but open to the world you are being exposed to. Many people that you will be working with have experience and knowledge in their field. Providing you with the opportunity to gain that knowledge will be the greatest gift Lightbox can do for you.
What’s the wisest thing anyone has ever said to you?
"Give me 6 hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening my axe", understand that whatever you do in life, if focus on your preparation, the execution becomes simple.