Each summer at Edstruments, the Slack channels, Zoom rooms, and calendar invitations become far busier as undergraduate and MBA interns join the team to begin rigorous (and impactful!) projects. As we make our way through another pandemic-impacted winter and gear up for summer recruiting, we checked in with some of our former rockstar teammates to learn more about their experience.
"It was an opportunity to get more content expertise in education," says Joy Shen, who worked on a growth strategy project during the summer of 2021. "I was interested in learning how to improve things in education at a structural/operations level, and this was a new and exciting angle."
Shen, a former management consultant, joined that summer alongside her classmate in Stanford's MA/MBA program, Dan Richey. Both learned about the company through connections to Edstruments founder and CEO Aditya Kaddu, a fellow Stanford MA/MBA alum.
"I was looking for an early-stage K12 organization because I had experience there," said Dan, who worked at a K12 curriculum company after several years in investment banking and private equity. "There's a lot that goes on in school administration that has room for improvement with technology." During his internship, he tackled projects from crafting complex school district sales pitches to pioneering partnerships with tech companies and consulting firms. “It was definitely a challenge to get my foot in the door since the pandemic was such an intense crisis,” Dan recalled, “but I found relying on my network really helped.”
During summer 2021, Edstruments also welcomed several undergraduates onto the team.
One of them, Will Barao, saw working at the company as the perfect way to strengthen his business skill set as he pursues his interests in ESG (Environment-Social-Government Impact) investing. "I was immediately drawn to the mission of impacting K12 education through tech,” he commented.
Barao was able to leverage the remote, flexible nature of the company to continue training and competing as a swimmer at Georgetown University. And the summer wasn’t only a great learning opportunity — he also bonded with his other undergraduate colleagues. In fact, a friend from the summer internship, who is currently an undergraduate at Stanford and an incoming data science intern at Meta, recently visited him in DC. "The mission attracts a really ethical workforce with each other's best at heart.” Barao continued. “That's really all you can ask of an employer culture."
At Edstruments, summer team members tackled projects on both the technology and business sides of the company. As a product manager, Farhan Khera was involved in both. "Because I joined the company so early, I got a wide breadth of experience. It was definitely a challenge, but I also learned a lot from it."
Khera interned during the summer of 2020 after connecting with the company through a Teach For America contact. After a successful summer supporting the development of a new budget planning module, he accepted a full-time role on the team. "There are a lot of things that can go wrong in an internship, but unlike some companies, Aditya has a really deep interest in everyone on the team having a good experience. He wants people to learn from each other and feel like they have interesting projects."
Will Brito, a summer 2020 MBA associate from Wharton, echoed that sentiment. "There was a mutual interest in me growing the company and the company growing me," he said of his recruiting interviews. Asked about his experience, Brito talked about the sometimes intimidating (yet always exciting) impact potential he had at an early-stage startup. "It's a good challenge," he said as he described creating sales frameworks and client relations systems still in use today. "It's definitely great for people who like to take charge and be self-starters."
Bell Wilkins, who interned during the summer of 2020 and returned as a full-time associate in summer 2021, also discussed the challenge and excitement of a startup role. "It was amazing having a supervisor trust me with so much responsibility, especially given I had relatively little marketing experience." Wilkins, who was an elementary school teacher before joining the company, was the first team member to join through Education Pioneers — a national fellowship that works with prominent education players such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, NYC DOE, and Everfi. (In 2020, Edstruments and Zearn, a math curriculum software, were the only two edtech companies invited to join its selective group of partners.)
Sean Li, who is currently a statistics and computer science major at Duke University, learned about Edstruments through a student impact investing group. During the summer of 2021, he completed project that used machine learning to measure inequities in public school funding. When asked what he would say to someone considering an internship at Edstruments, Li didn't hesitate: "Your role is magnified because the company is so small, so try your best and focus on high-quality work."
Asked the same, Joy Shen had additional insights. "If you were interested in Edstruments, I'd say 'Congrats and thank you for being someone who cares about leaving the world a better place than you found it,’” she began. During her nine weeks, she described the excitement of getting "a really good taste" of different professional experiences. (This was a particularly apt figure of speech for Shen; a passionate cook, she prepared dinner for several team members and their partners who were in the Bay Area over the summer.)
“You’re going to learn so much in the experience, and you’re going to get to meet people who are also very passionate and visionary,” Shen continued. “It’s exciting and can be scary and intimidating to work in such a challenging space like education, especially in a startup, but the opportunity for learning and impact is something you can’t get anywhere else.”
Over our company’s brief history, we’ve hosted and created meaningful projects for interns from three different MBA programs and five undergraduate institutions. (And we’d love to hear from you wherever you’re from!) Roles have ranged from business development to product management to data science, with many positions in between. Each of our interns has played a critical role in furthering our mission: equipping leaders with the knowledge and tools to most effectively and equitably serve their students. Interested in exploring an opportunity for summer 2022 (or sooner)? Feel free to reach out on LinkedIn or email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Edstruments exists to equip education leaders with the knowledge and tools to most effectively and equitably serve their students. To learn more about how we can help your school administrators make better financial decisions, email us at email@example.com or fill out the contact form on our main website.