It’s not often that interns actually, well, “get shit done.” From Starbucks runs to stapler duty, many interns are left scratching their heads at the end of their tenures, wondering how best to translate mind-numbing internships into experiences that’ll make their resumes shine.
But that couldn’t be further from the truth for interns at Mabbly, a Chicago-based digital marketing company that prides itself (among many other things) on its summer internship program.
“We wanted to create an internship program that didn’t focus around interns getting coffee or doing admin activities,” said Mabbly’s Cori Hunziker. “We really wanted to foster a sense of entrepreneurship for the next generation of entrepreneurs.”
Last summer, the eight-week internship — affectionately dubbed the “most kickass internship ever” — saw a group of nine interns split into teams of three to tackle a variety of real-world tasks, from designing innovative social campaign for Mabbly, to planning events and organizing speakers for Techweek and organizing the Bluegill Country Music Festival in southern Illinois.
Their real-world work experiences, Hunziker said, led to situations where the interns were charged to explore one another’s strengths and weaknesses in environments they didn’t necessarily feel at home in.
They’re mentalities that reflect the overall culture at Mabbly, founder Adam Fridman said. Mabbly’s full-time workers operate under that same “get shit done” mantra, encouraged to find comfort in the uncomfortable in order to thrive.
And those unorthodox philosophies seem to be sticking. Fridman said they’ve grown from five employees in January of 2015 to 25 in January of 2016 — and that’s on top of a growing fleet of freelancers that help Mabbly meet its mission to help companies rethink marketing and media.
Fridman said they grew about 350 percent in that time period and are on track to see similar growth in 2016.
For last summer’s interns, Mabbly’s approach seems to have proven effective. Hunziker said that a third of the interns from the group were brought on full time, while another was scooped up by one of the companies they worked alongside.
Mabbly launched in 2013 and works out of a home base in the West Loop, about a block from 1K Fulton. Applications for this summer’s program are currently open.
Photo via Mabbly.