When it comes to landing the perfect internship, Lauren Berger is Queen. By the time Berger graduated from the University of Central Florida in 2006, she had completed 15 internships in the communications field, including Fox News Channel and MTV. She was also a Florida freelancer for Us Weekly, where she had the opportunities to attend celebrity press events. “Most of my friends were working at Chili’s and TGIF, and I was reporting on Britney Spears and Jessica Simpson,” says Berger. Just a bit more glamorous.
Although Berger never set out to do so many internships when she began college, she loved her first experience so much that she doubled up on them every semester. Berger thrived on the hands-on assignments at her internships, and she knew she had to keep going back for more. She made sure she was able to balance her schoolwork and internships with a strict time schedule, and focus. Berger’s experience as an intern led to her current job as a young entrepreneur and business owner of Intern Queen, Inc. (www.internqueen.com). Intern Queen, Inc. is a website for designed for college students to find a large variety of internship listings based on interests and locations. Intern Queen, Inc. has been featured on E! News, Seventeen Magazine, New York Post, and the Hollywood Reporter. Berger was also named one of the top five finalists for Business Week’s 25 Entrepreneurs under 25 in 2009.
“Because of my internships, I knew what I didn’t want to do, but I was still unclear about what I wanted to do,” says Berger. She knew she wanted to work in the entertainment industry after college, so she moved to Los Angeles and worked for CAA (Creative Artists Agency), a talent agency. “It was such a cool place to work, I felt like I was on the TV show Entourage,” says Berger on being often surrounded by celebrities at CAA. But her real passion was helping college students understand the importance of interning.
When Berger had been working for CAA for about two years, she began pitching her idea to her employees about starting a web site to help college students land the ideal internship with less hassle. Eventually, the news about her idea spread, and she got her big break with the help of movie producer Marshall Herskovitch (Blood Diamond, My So Called Life). “I was ready to give up until Marshall came along. I wouldn’t be here today without not taking ‘no’ for answer” says Berger. Herskovitch became her first investor, told her to quit her “cool” job, which was not easy for Berger, and to begin her dream. “At that point in time it was really important to never lose focus,” says Berger.
Soon after Berger launched Intern Queen, Inc. in June 2008, she was able to get many companies interested in posting internship opportunities through her business, which is her source of profit. Berger originally had students pay a fee for completing an internship application through her website, but now she is a partner with OneCubicle (onecublicle.com), which allows students to apply for internships on Intern Queen, Inc. with no charge. Berger runs her home-based business solo, except for interns of course. Her interns help her with social media, research, data collecting, and interacting with clients.
Berger’s site lists internship opportunities from companies all over the United States and Canada, in many different fields. Berger’s goal with Intern Queen, Inc., is to make the intern application process as simple as possible. “I want it to be a personalized experience for the user,” says Berger. She knows how difficult it is to find internships online, and she doesn’t want students to have to struggle to find the perfect internship experience.
Berger’s advice to young college women, and to young entrepreneurs, is to defeat the fear of rejection. “Throughout the internship process, I learned about rejection, and you can’t control what other people are going to say. And now today, as a young woman it still happens,” says Berger. “There are rejections all the time, you have to learn to turn them into a positive.” Berger again, would not take “no” for answer, which led her to the success of her dream business.
Berger also tours college campuses around the country to spread awareness about the value of internships. Her next tour begins again this spring.