StingyCampus is a college deals and resources website Kareem Barghouti helped found two years ago while he was still taking classes at UC-Irvine. In today’s 5 in 5! employer interview, we asked Kareem what it’s like to work for a web startup.
1. How did you get started in the industry? How can someone who is interested in your work get started?
While studying biological sciences at the University of California, Irvine, I had planned on going the pre-med route until I realized I need to follow my passion for technology and my dream of starting my own business. Everyone told me I would fail, not having an education or experience in running a business. That just made me want it more.
The beginning of my senior year, my current business partner and I came up with an idea for a one-stop shop college resource website that we called StingyCampus. Today, we are growing throughout the Southern California region and partnering with universities and businesses to help simplify student lives and enhance their college experience.
From my experience, getting involved in a tech-based business requires a variety of people with all types of backgrounds. But the two key roles that the business must have to succeed are the engineer and the salesman. If you can prove yourself capable in one of those two fields, you will be a vital asset to any tech company.
2. What’s the future of your industry or job?
Technology is an exciting and fast-paced industry. Every day there is something new and improved. Constantly innovating is crucial for success. The present and future in my eyes is mobile phones, particularly mobile apps. Our everyday lives will be managed through these incredible devices.
3. What do you look for when you hire an intern or entry-level candidate?
Driven, passionate, organized, loyal, educated, results-oriented, creative and a fun personality. We want to work with people that want to make a difference and are willing to be challenged and take risks. Don’t be afraid if you are not an expert; practice and experience will get you there. We are here to help. But if you do not have the determination and the fire, we can’t help you. Interns come out benefiting and learning more than they expected. Take the extra step to show us you are the one for the job.
4. What is one thing an intern can do to make a favorable impression? To make a negative impression?
Preparation. This word alone covers many aspects. By being prepared you are well-educated on the material, confident, punctual and organized, and have proven your respect and determination for the tasks at hand.
If you are not prepared, we are not interested.
5. Can you share a positive intern story?
There are days when work can be tough and very draining. We can’t let it get to us. One of our interns was reaching out to departments on a college campus for a potential partnership. The intern was constantly being turned down at the front door. After a few words of encouragement from fellow co-workers, the intern got back out there and re-strategized their plan of action. At the end of the day, the intern was able to close their biggest partnership to date.
Our team is here to help push one another achieve our goals. Do not take anything personally when dealing with a stressful situation. We believe in an open, team-oriented environment. Have fun!