Musings on a Venture Capital Internship


Harsh Doshi has recently graduated from the New York University Stern School of Business after majoring in finance and statistics. He has previously completed a consulting internship at Cedar Consulting in Mumbai where he conducted research to model a business plan around a new hyper-local delivery startup, and in Deloitte S&O in New York where he helped plan the strategic turnaround of one of the world’s largest fragrance manufacturers. He recently spent a semester working at the Unitus Seed Fund to assist with the sourcing of disruptive companies and identification of terrific entrepreneurs.

I wrapped up my internship at the Unitus Seed Fund last week — marking the end of one of the most insightful, informative and interesting 3.5 months I’ve spent.

I pursued the opportunity to learn more about business dynamics in a setting I knew I wanted to be a part of, but felt a little removed from. Just over a quarter later, I’m convinced that I want to be an active member of the Indian startup ecosystem. Given my limited experience, I just don’t know when, or on which side of the table.

Regardless of the path I choose (investor or entrepreneur), I want to highlight three crucial, path-agnostic and un-intuitive learnings from my internship.

Not all good businesses are VC investable

The ideal startup creates disproportionate value using repeatable, scalable business models. The potential for an investor to realize a super normal return makes it investable. The factors which affect the size and probability of that return are:

1. A large market experiencing some meaningful friction
2. The ability to scale without incurring significant marginal cost or compromising quality
3. A product with a sustainable competitive advantage
4. The potential for sizable positive returns in the near future
5. An incredible team willing to tirelessly tweak their venture to defend and grow its position

Startups outperform on a few criteria, underperform on others, and investors fund ventures with a figurative ‘weighted average score’ that they are comfortable with.

A good business, on the other hand, is a venture that has a consistent, positive cash flow, but doesn’t check at least one of the boxes above. Selling a commodity in a large market (diamond traders) or a differentiated product in a small market (constituent-specific ERP systems for political representatives), for example, are potentially good businesses, but not investable ones.

That said, good businesses can often become investable, and this is particularly true for differentiated products which resolve their initial challenges in scaling. I’ve noticed that the path of least resistance is often building a brand (Paperboat by Hector Beverages or Cafe Coffee Day) or pivoting (going from running schools, to standardizing and managing them).

For example, most FMCG products are good businesses — large markets, no great competitive advantage, scaling is expensive because it is a function of distribution etc. The Paperboat (packaged Indian drinks) team focused on building a brand that emotionally appealed to consumers, locked in key distributors and priced very effectively — converting the business into a cash cow and potential acquisition target — making the venture a lot more investable.

Good business are happy occupying and defending small pieces of a large pie, while investable businesses often look to grow or significantly reallocate portions of the pie. A team’s willingness and ability to make the transition often determines whether a good business gets funded.

Product need does not equal product demand

Need represents a market gap. Demand represents the willingness of the purchaser to fill that gap. Companies make money off demand, not need.
For example, there is a need for faster, cheaper and more accurate diagnosis of UTI (urinary tract infection) in India to reduce drug-resistance and bring down healthcare costs. But doctors make money off prescribing a broad-range antibiotic that works for the majority of UTI patients. They don’t have a high willingness to pay because the existing solution isn’t that bad, and the new solution doesn’t supplement their incomes.

An alignment in incentives between the seller, purchaser and consumer is therefore crucial for sales. Put simply, unless the person who needs to buy the product has a reason to buy the product, the seller will not make money.

Information asymmetry creates strong signals

Information is sparse around private companies, so every action (or lack thereof) sends a strong signal.

A large institutional investor, for example, who doesn’t want to participate in a future round after initially investing in a company signals that something may be unattractive. A company raising a bridge loan signals that it’s struggling to raise money and/or needs money immediately, suggesting that it may be up for grabs at a more attractive valuation.

Signals extend to individuals too. Referrals from reputed angels warrant another layer of due diligence, even for a me-too, because it signals a potentially attractive opportunity. Passing the opportunity to invest in a great startup fishing for term sheets in bad faith signals that investors care more about relationships with each other than just multiplying money.

The converse holds true as well —which makes maintaining a trustworthy reputation, especially in an ecosystem as small as this one, extremely crucial.

If you’re interested in working at Unitus Seed Fund as a Dealflow & Partnership Analyst in Bangalore, India, you can apply via CareerNet (Job Posting 1032660).

Student Spotlight Series


Samantha Levy is a Master’s student at Steinhardt in the Food Studies Program and will graduate in 2017. This summer, she is the Biodiversity Intern at Slow Food USA.

“Being the Biodiversity Intern at Slow Food USA allowed me to put my passion for good, clean and fair food to good use. Not only did I write copy for their Ark of Taste Program to entice people to grow and eat endangered varieties, but I also learned how to do basic website coding. I feel I got a great taste for what it is like to work for an important good food non-profit, and I especially enjoyed the daily lunches!”

Are you an NYU student with an interesting summer internship? If so, email and you might be featured on our social media.

The Changing Space of Education


Ben Krusling is a Senior Educational Consultant at Apolish, an online education center for Chinese students. He graduated from Columbia University in 2012 with a degree in English Literature and currently lives in Brooklyn.

So: you’re a student looking for internships and jobs, but not sure which field you want to enter? For today’s more globally-minded students, especially at NYU, the school with the largest population of international students in the U.S., the education industry might be the place for you.

The number of international students studying in the U.S. is increasing annually.

As data from the Institute of International Education indicates, “in 2014/15, international students [studying in the US] increased 10% over the prior year, the highest rate of growth since 1975/76.” More specifically, 974,926 were enrolled in U.S. institutions of learning last year. Compare that to about 886,000 the year before and about 724,000 a few years before that, we can see that more and more students are studying abroad.

These international students are coming from different educational and cultural backgrounds and many are learning to read, write, and speak English as a second (or third, or fourth!) language. Many of these students need help navigating the American educational system, improving their writing skills, receiving supplemental tutoring and services, and more.

What does that mean for you prospective jobseekers? It means that many opportunities are opening up in the education sector to help support and tutor all of these students in their studies.

Not only are their numbers increasing, but these students are coming from all over the world and from an increasing variety of countries.

Data from the Wall Street Journal indicates that, while over 50% of students come from just five countries–China (31% of all international students), India (14%), South Korea (7%), Saudi Arabia (6%), and Canada (3%)—there are still thousands of students from countries like Brazil (2%), Vietnam (2%), and Mexico (2%). In the last few years, these students have added over $30 billion to the U.S. economy.

Some educational companies work exclusively with students from one of these countries and many educational companies from those countries have opened American offices. As a result, there are often opportunities for employees at these companies to travel on behalf of their employer to work with students in their countries of origins while still being based in a major city like New York.

Technology and the internet are drastically changing the way private tutors and educators can help their students.

In today’s global world, companies are increasingly innovating new online platforms and programs to help reach students, no matter where they are. Online classes and seminars are becoming more common as are remote video conferences with students and clients.

Historically, the education industry has been quite slow to adopt new trends and adapt to the opportunities that new technology offers. The rise of organizations like Khan Academy and others have accelerated this new trend and also innovated the idea of a “flipped classroom,” where students watch lecture material at home and spend class time on discussing the material and doing activities.

What does that mean for you? It means the educational industry is a great place for those interested in innovation and flexibility, in the digital humanities, and in finding new ways to connect with students and educators around the world.

Interested in education, international opportunities, and startups? Check out Apolish to learn more about our company and look at our open part-time and full-time positions.

Student Spotlight Series


Isaac Donis is a student at the Tandon School of Engineering, studying Electrical Engineering for the Class of 2017. He’s a Summer Intern at Goldman Sachs.

“Working at Goldman Sachs introduced me to the diverse career choices for engineering students. It taught me that what you do in college is only the beginning of what there is to learn. I’m excited for the experiences and new skills my future career will bring me.”

Are you an NYU student with an interesting summer internship? If so, email and you might be featured on our social media.

Profile of a Wasserman Center Internship Grant Recipient

Micaela Vorchheimer (SPS ’17) is a first year graduate student at the School of Professional Studies, pursuing a degree in Global Affairs focusing on human rights and gender studies. Micaela has worked as Vice Chair of the Legal Department of the NGO TECHO and as paralegal of Marval, O’Farrell & Mairal law firm. Prior to graduate school, she obtained a Law degree at University of Buenos Aires with concentration in private law. This past fall, Micaela interned at the Americas Division at Human Rights Watch.

1) What was it like being an Americas Intern at Human Rights Watch (HRW)?

As an Americas Intern I was responsible for a broad range of duties including conducting research, writing memos, doing media coverage, transcriptions, translations, responding to inquiries, and monitoring current events in Latin America. I worked with the direct guidance and supervision of the Americas researchers. The whole experience was unparalleled. HRW’s NY office is located in the fabulous Empire State Building. Working surrounded with those stunning views was unbelievable. Moreover, in February, all Americas researchers gathered for the Annual Summit in New York, and I got the opportunity to meet them.

2) What was the most challenging or rewarding part of the internship?

The thing I enjoy most about my internship at HRW is that I am able to talk with researchers of other teams and learn about their work every day. Through this interaction, I am exposed to different topics and learn how research is done around the world. Moreover, all researchers, associates and interns focus on empowering each other to get the job done. The most challenging part of my internship was helping with the transcription of long interviews of people whose rights were undermined. That task was time-consuming and emotionally exhausting, but when the report was released, I felt the greatest reward.

3) Why should other students apply for the Wasserman Center Internship Grant?

From a financial point of view, a career in human rights is very challenging and many students do internships and volunteer without decent wage. The Wasserman Center Internship Grant can make a difference in your budget and help pursuing your goals. For example, the WCIG will help you alleviate the daily financial stress, fund expenses, bills, and rent payments. Additionally, from a career development perspective, I strongly suggest that students make the right move and follow their true passion. In doing so, they will succeed, go beyond what is required, and even enjoy it. Also, we should not forget that not everyone gets the chance to chose their career path. Therefore, if a student has a true calling, she or he should go for it. “You Only Live Once,” right?

4) Non-paying Internship Survival 101 tip:

Important life lesson: bring your own snack & food to work! It simply doesn’t make economic sense to go out for lunch. In addition, try to unify the hours of the internship in a few days so as to save time and money. Finally, do not forget to make friends! They will make your day more fun and the entire experience unforgettable from every point of view.

The Wasserman Center Internship Grant was established to provide financial assistance ($1000) to students pursuing non-paying internships within not-for-profits, the arts, education, public service and other industries that do not traditionally pay their interns. For more information, the application and eligibility criteria can be found on NYU CareerNet under Job ID #1028609. The application deadline is June 21, 2016 at 11:59pm EST. Please keep in mind this is a competitive process.

Please review these FAQs and contact with any questions.

An Alumnus’ Perspective on the Talent Demand for International and National Security

Joseph deTani

Ambassador Joseph R DeTrani is president of the Daniel Morgan Academy, a nonprofit, independent graduate school in Washington, DC enhancing and advancing the education of those interested in a career in the national security field. Previously, he served as special envoy for the Six Party Talks with North Korea and was the Senior Advisor to the Director of National Intelligence. He is a graduate of New York University, where he received his Bachelor’s Degree in Economics and attended the NYU School of Law and Graduate School of Business Administration.

The United States finds itself in the most challenging strategic situation it has faced since the Cold War. In order for us to address the latest global challenges, we need more people who are well educated in supporting the US national interest. Given the nature of the issues we face, there are several broad areas that are now particularly relevant to the national interest, and in which there is the most pressing need to educate and develop a national cadre of experts.

The first area is national security, broadly defined. Specifically, this means contending with threats to the US as well as opportunities to advance strategic political and economic interests, including promoting democracy, human rights, and the rule of law. National security also entails applying the means necessary to take advantage of opportunities and meliorate challenges. Every aspect of national security requires educated experts to develop innovative ideas and strategies, encompassing both the national defense and foreign relations of the US, and utilizing military, diplomatic and covert intelligence assets to protect the country and its citizens from attack or other danger. Experts in numerous departments and agencies of government require an array of regional and functional specializations to assess and contend with, for example, the Russian conflict with the Baltic States, North Korean nuclear and missile development, and the flood of Syrian refugees to Europe, to name but a few.

Intelligence also requires well educated specialists, who collect, assess, and disseminate information and analysis to assist US government policymakers in making decisions in support of US national security. They may analyze countries’ intentions within specific geographic regions; reveal the secret instructions of nuclear negotiators; or utilize sophisticated signals for intelligence, human intelligence, and other means to locate extremely dangerous terrorists.

Additionally, there is a requirement within several agencies of government for highly educated experts in a field less well known outside government circles, described as “information operations.” Information operations apply digital and human influence methods to affect the perceptions, decision-making, and behavior of leaders, groups, or entire populations, in support of US national security objectives.

At the Daniel Morgan Academy, a new graduate school focusing on national security studies, we take a unique approach to preparing our students for successful careers in these three specialized areas. We rely heavily on practitioner scholars to instruct our students in the areas of national security studies, intelligence studies, and information operations studies — the only educational program in information operations outside the US Government. Our students are prepared in foreign and security policy, as well as regional studies, from the perspective of scholars who have not only written about it, but lived it. Our students are trained to analyze and communicate well, both in written and oral form, by professionals who have learned through professional practice what succeeds and what doesn’t in government, and who can convey some of the tradecraft in which they have been steeped. While the US Government, corporate, and NGO demand to recruit national security professionals remains strong, at the Daniel Morgan Academy we hope to provide our students the kind of unique competitive edge that will help propel them to successful careers.

If you are interested in getting more information about graduate study opportunities at the Daniel Morgan Academy, visit

If you are interested broadly in international careers, attend the upcoming “Careers in Distressed Areas” panel on April 29th, 2:00PM.

In Case You Missed It: Analytics Career Conference

Analytics Headshot

In case you missed the NYU Analytics Career Conference, Ilya Zeldin, CEO of has got you covered!

Ilya Zeldin is the founder and CEO of (“to know me”), where his passion for humanity and technology converge to enable meaningful awareness and personalized professional development. With a global network of experts in Social Psychology, training and organizational behavior, the platform he created supports Human Capital leaders during critical HR functions of recruiting, retention and succession planning. Ilya holds an MBA from Georgetown University and previously managed the global service provider program for Dell Software. He lives with his family in New York City.

I was asked to share my experience from last week’s NYU Analytics Conference at the Wasserman Center for Career Development at the School of Professional Studies. My point of view is one of someone who is passionate about people, technology and data (big and small). And together with my colleague, Peter Janow, Director of Business Development & Global Sales at, we are also prospective employers, looking for skilled talent to expand our team.

Before I move on, let me express tremendous gratitude for the opportunity to participate in the Talent Trends: Future of HR Analytics panel with super smart peers and a group of students with unmistakable glare of curiosity and vision. The panel was skillfully moderated by NYUSPS Adjunct Professor Vincent Suppa. It was cool to be both a participant and an observer.

Two themes emerged from the panel. First, professional success in most careers of tomorrow will require you to have a “comfortable” baseline of programming languages and interfaces. One of the most important classes that I took in high school was typing because I learned how to express my thoughts without slowing down to look at the keyboard. Yesterday’s ability to type is today’s knowledge of HMTL, Python, Ruby and similar languages. You don’t need to be an expert or even a coder. But the world is using technology to formulate questions, design solutions and measure their effectiveness. And in this world, I think it’s vital to understand the “alphabet,” logic and possibilities of “speaking” this language.

The second theme, equally important, is that knowledge, even expertise, in these skills and functions is not enough. The evolving view is that functional skills can be taught to the right person who “fits” in. Soft skills are often THE glue that binds or destroys companies. Where functional skills stay with you from job to job, each company (and each new team) has a unique dynamic. In the “people economy,” big data is like a tsunami because, by the time you graduate, it will fundamentally improve critical HR processes because big data moves decision-making from the realm of subjective to objective. People that are aware of these dynamics will fair better than people who are oblivious to soft skills.

As a prospective employer, Pete and I came in with high expectations (it’s NYU!). We were met with smart and engaging questions during the panel and after during networking. I met with 9 people and ate 3 cookies. Within 72 hours, I received 3 thoughtful notes with CVs that show relevant and deep expertise, and 5 new LinkedIn connections – a great metric, in my humble opinion. We are looking at extending an internship this summer as a direct result of our attendance.

Analytics Conference

Estoy Muy Orgullosa De Ti

HelenHelen Alesbury served in the Peace Corps as a rural health volunteer from 2011 to 2013 in El Salvador where she helped facilitate several projects with the health clinic, Engineers Without Borders-NYC, and promoted girl’s education. Today, she is the NYU campus Peace Corps Recruiter, based in the Wasserman Center and a full time graduate student in the College of Arts and Science getting her MA in Anthropology and Human Skeletal Biology.

Sulma gave the best hugs. Her arms would fit perfectly around me and she would tuck her head in under my chin as she would give a firm, comforting squeeze. Even from the moment we met and I started living with her, her mom, Maribel and older sister, Yessica she hugged me like she already knew me. Like we were best friends. Honestly, I have never gotten a hug quite like hers since I left El Salvador.

Growing up as the youngest of three girls I was no stranger to strong women, but living with Maribel, Sulma, and Yessica showed me an entirely different type of strength. Maribel had her two daughters one year apart when she herself was only a teenager, a common and expected situation in rural Latin America. In such an isolated village, Maribel was unable to get much of any education and never learned how to read or write. When I first arrived to the village of Los Cimientos, El Salvador in 2011 as a Peace Corps Volunteer, I had never met an adult who could not read. As I fumbled my way through communicating in Spanish I often had to look up words in my much-more-than-pocket-sized Spanish/English dictionary. I remember the day I asked Maribel to pronounce a particularly tricky word and she flatly explained that no, she couldn’t help me with the word as she could not read.

Over the next couple years living with Maribel and the girls, I grew to admire her strength and unwavering determination to give her two daughters opportunities she never had. She wanted her daughters to finish middle school and go to high school, even though that meant leaving home. She fought with Sulma over having a boyfriend, for fear that it would lead her down a path similar to her own. She saved everything she could to help them go to school –without the help of her long gone husband.

It was with this in mind that I started a small but effective scholarship project for the young girls in my community. While there is a school in the community, it only goes up to 8th grade, and high school is only available down the mountain, in the nearest village—a distance that requires students to live away from home and only come home on the weekends. While the school itself is government funded, the necessary lodging, transportation, and food costs are not—leaving many kids to “finish” their education at the tender ages of 14 or 15. In many cases, because Los Cimientos is mainly sustained by its high elevation and therefore ample growth of coffee trees, many parents allow their kids to just learn how to read and then pull them out to work by picking coffee (around the third grade). The scholarship was for $300 a year, and would cover most of the transportation costs. In the end, seven girls participated in the program and have since graduated from high school.

Sulma was of course one of the eager participants in the scholarship program along with her sister. After I returning back to the United States I have kept in contact with Sulma through the miracle and ease of Facebook (which is now in small Salvadoran mountain villages) and learned of her high school graduation. A few weeks later we were chatting—she had been posting a lot of photos and statuses about how sad she was and how much she missed her family. My brain immediately assumed she was preparing to come to the United States and join her father here in New York City. I was pained by this decision and immediately prepared to try and talk her out of leaving her mother and sister only to find out that Sulma was not planning to come to the US. Sulma was in college. IN COLLEGE. Spurned on by her recent graduation from high school and support from her mother, Sulma is now getting her degree in teaching English in the eastern capital of San Miguel, a fact that just goes to show that with support and opportunity, literally anything is possible. She will not only be the first in her family to get a college degree but the first in her ENTIRE COMMUNITY. I wish I could give her one of her perfect hugs and somehow communicate just how proud of her I am because somehow, a Facebook message of “estoy muy muy muy orgullosa de ti” just doesn’t feel the same. I am proud that even though she misses her family and her home, she is fighting for a better opportunity and better education. Proud that I got to be a small part of her life for a few years and proud to see her become the young woman she is today.

Want to learn more about women’s empowerment and the importance of education in developing nations? Come to a special panel event organized by Peace Corps, hosted at the NYU Wasserman Career Center on Tuesday, April 5th, at 6:30pm and hear from several professionals about what they are doing to help fight for women’s equality all over the world. Free pizza and great conversation! The event is open to the public. See the Facebook event here:

Mastering Your Job Fair Strategy


Julia Lee works in Community Growth at Planted, a talent platform that connects students and recent grads to non-technical positions at high-growth startups. Her main focus is user acquisition through a wide variety of channels, including paid social media marketing, content, partnerships, and events. Julia graduated from Yale in May 2015 with a degree in Political Science and worked in sales for a financial newswire startup before joining Planted.

Tips to make the most out of a job fair:

Before the event, do your research on the companies attending.
Decide which you want to visit and figure out what each one does. While the reps at the fair will be happy to tell you what the company does, wouldn’t you rather spend the couple minutes you have at each booth talking about more than that? Plus, almost everyone else will be opening with the question “What do you guys do?” Opening with a more interesting question that shows that you’ve researched the company will help you stand out.

During the event, don’t walk around in packs with your friends.
A career fair is an opportunity to make connections, network, and get to know employees on an individual level. If you’re walking around with three other people, you’ll be listening a lot more than you’ll be talking. That means you’ll be a lot less memorable. Some employers might even assume that you’re too shy to go up to a booth by yourself, and question whether you have the maturity and confidence to work for them.

Don’t just walk up to a company rep and rattle off everything your resume. They’ll get your resume anyway, and will absorb way more from reading it than from listening to you recite it. Talk to employers with the intention of telling a story that they can associate with your resume later. Loosen up and have a conversation! It’s a career fair, but employers are people too. You’ll make a much better impression if it doesn’t seem like all you care about is whether they’ll hire you.

After the event, follow up with the people you met, especially if you hit it off. Even if they weren’t hiring for a position you’re qualified for. Even if you weren’t interested in working for their company. You never know who could be helpful to you down the line.

A good follow-up email should thank them, refer to some memorable part of your conversation (all the easier if you follow the tips above for a non-generic conversation!), and ask to get coffee or jump on a quick call to talk further about questions you have. If you think that seems too forward, it’s not. People love helping others and talking about themselves. The worst thing that could happen is your email going ignored. The upside? You never know!

Are you an undergraduate, graduate student, or MBA candidate interested in paid part-time jobs, full-time jobs or internships in the exciting world of Start Ups? Meet employers and explore opportunities at the NYU Spring 2016 Start Up Job Expo today, 4:00PM-6:30PM at The Wasserman Center. RSVP on CareerNet to learn more!

Advice on Interviewing: What to Do (and Not to Do)


Yiqiu Gao, is the Founder and CEO of the tech startup, Netaround, Inc. Netaround developed a social network mobile application that helps users to find and meet new people everywhere they go–circle up everyone in the same location based on a specific event or common interest. Yiqiu brought her mobile application business from a simple idea to a fully functioning application by working closely with her team to wireframe app functions and features, design UI/UX, and to code the app in both frontend and backend development. She has gained valuable experience on creating mobile applications that not only help solve problems but also bring up great UI/UX designs that boost the user experience.

Before the Interview

· Research the company and position you are applying for

· Prepare questions to ask the interviewer at the end of the interview

· Know the exact time and location of the interview

· Arrive 10 minutes before the start time

· Bring extra copies of your resumes and cover letters

· Be late to the interview

· Show up unprepared without doing any research

During the Interview

· Be aware of company culture and dress appropriately

· Talk about your experience/background in detail and how it makes you a better candidate

· Maintain good eye contact

· Be honest and professional

· Treat everyone you meet at the company with respect

· Lie about your experiences and background

· Fidget and slouch in your seat

· Say anything negative about former employers or colleagues

After the Interview

· Send a thank-you letter or email to your interviewer within 24-48 hours of the interview

· Make notes about the interview so you don’t forget critical details

· Make it seem like you are desperately in need of a job or do not care if you get the job in the thank-you letter

Come meet the Netaround team at the NYU Startup Expo and learn about some of the internship opportunities that we will be offering for the summer and fall.

Are you an undergraduate, graduate student, or MBA candidate interested in paid part-time jobs, full-time jobs or internships in the exciting world of Start Ups? Meet employers and explore opportunities at the NYU Spring 2016 Start Up Job Expo on March 31st, 4:00PM-6:30PM at The Wasserman Center. RSVP on CareerNet to learn more!