May 20 2009
Last Wednesday, I spoke on a SD Forum panel about “College Students & Technology”. Our moderator, Josh Lowensohn, asked about our thoughts on startups, gadgets, dealing with online distractions, how companies should recruit college students, what we did to land killer internships, etc.
During the Q & A session, June Bower from Cisco asked, “How much does money matter when college students are considering an internship or a job?”
Throughout the panel discussion, we had simply ignored the topic and focused on learning experiences and acquiring brand names for the resume… When June asked the question, I gave a non-specific answer that money mattered, but not that much.
But the truth is, money matters. A lot. One of my life goals is to give away $1 million dollars, and I think about it fairly regularly. Also, if I ever choose to bootstrap a business or do more traveling, I need to accumulate some savings…
Every single mentor and advisor of mine says, “At this point in life, value experience far higher than money. For internships and entry-level jobs, the salary spread is low enough that the long-term value of experience will more than compensate for a low-paying job.”
Here’s the simple answer: Because I value money so highly, the long-term earning potential of experience far outweighs immediate salary.
Already, I’ve seen my low-paying, high-learning internships pay off in really neat opportunities.
(Note: Low-paying, low-learning internships are the most common. Never take those!)