Annie Wang singlehandedly built and continues to develop HerCampus.com, branded as “the collegiette’s guide to life.” She was named to Inc. magazine’s “30 Under 30 Coolest Young Entrepreneurs,” Glamour magazine’s “20 Amazing Young Women,” and The Boston Globe‘s “25 Most Stylish Bostonians.” In September 2010, Annie took a leave of absence from Harvard to work full-time on Her Campus. She was a senior majoring in visual and environmental studies with a concentration in animation and a minor in psychology. Follow Annie on Twitter: @annie_wang
1. What do you look for when you hire an intern?
I look for professional, efficient, self-motivated individuals who I can trust. Because Her Campus is a startup, it’s extremely important that everyone, including interns, understands that giving 100% requires more initiative, attention to detail, and creativity than perhaps would otherwise be required at a “normal” company. We look for rockstar interns who are excited about this and are eager to push our mission forward.
2. How did you get started in the industry? How can I get started?
I got started in digital media/online magazines after working with my co-founders on a similar publication at Harvard (where we were all undergrads). We won a business plan competition for HerCampus.com and dedicated ourselves completely to it — I took a leave of absence from Harvard during my senior year to pursue Her Campus full-time. My advice to anyone interested in creating their own business is to just go for it. Learn what you need to know to make your dream a reality,recruit talented people to help you run it,and don’t put off launching it!
3. What is the future of your industry?
The future of digital media looks extremely promising — I believe everything that currently exists in print will continue being matched and then beaten by what can be done on web and mobile. Specifically for the magazine industry, I think more and more publications will transition online, and new publications will exist in online form only. There’s no reason to limit readership to an audience reachable by print when the whole web is available, eager, and instantly ready to consume media.
4. What is one main thing an intern can do to make a favorable impression? To make a negative impression?
Our best interns are idea-generators: they don’t wait for an assignment to brainstorm something that could push Her Campus forward. Always communicating professionally is also key, and definitely does not go unnoticed. Unfortunately, it’s much easier to make a negative impression. The opposite end of the spectrum is the intern who is unsure how to complete a task but does not bother to clarify. The result is often erroneous or sloppy work that wastes a supervisor’s time and potentially harms the business.
5. Give us a positive intern story? An intern horror story?
Positive intern story: One of my interns was designing a flowchart to accompany a national article on HerCampus.com. She took the initiative to find an online resource that would help her design a great-looking flowchart. When I gave her feedback on her designs, she politely brought her laptop to me to discuss the changes and worked until all of my suggestions were integrated after several rounds of editing.
Intern horror story: An intern who was interviewing with us showed up half an hour late, did not apologize, and then slammed the door in our face when we turned her away at the door based on her tardiness. Yikes!
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