Summer 2020 Internship Hunt (Take 2)

In Mid-October, after months of rigorous interviewing, I accepted an Airbnb Software Engineering Internship position and could finally relax. “With Airbnb projected to go public this summer, this’ll be a pivotal and historic moment in its growth!”- I thought to myself, ironically but nonetheless correctly.

Enter Covid-19.
March 12th 

Harvey Mudd cancels in-person classes. I think to myself “Could this affect my summer plans?... Nah of course not, this’ll probably blow over in a couple months tops.” 

March 18th

Yelp cancels its internship and becomes the first big tech company (that I noticed) to do so. “Uhhh, maybe it isn’t impossible.” Still no confirmation from Airbnb as to whether it’ll be virtual.

April 8th

Google, Microsoft and several other large internship programs go virtual. Cruise, Yelp, Verily and several other internships have been cancelled. Nothing but “expect an update soon” from Airbnb. The internship getting cancelled has finally dawned on me as a strong possibility. To cover my bases, I casually began re-applying (but notified recruiters that my availability is contingent on Airbnb cancelling).

April 16th

Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky cancels the internship program and my recruiter emails me the same day. Initially, I was angry that it was cancelled just a month before my start date as opposed to a month ago like Yelp, to give me sufficient time to find a new gig. I soon realized that Airbnb like others were just trying their best to survive and prevent layoffs, and that the recruiters were honest and tried their best to support us moving forward. It was nice to see that Airbnb’s culture of hospitality held through during challenging times. Regardless of this though, I knew I had to find an internship, and with time ticking and other rescinded interns at other companies who’ve gotten head starts I had to find one fast.

April 17th

I reached out to many of my offers from the Fall and company after company said they either filled their internship cohort or cancelled it altogether. At this point it felt like Thanos had snapped all of my offers out of existence.

The Search Continues

I knew I had to restart my search. I had no offers, little time but a lot of will. So I hopped on LinkedIn and went into grind mode. I posted my resume and situation on LinkedIn  and, thanks to my empathetic network, it gained a lot of traction.

The post reached over 120,000 people and my LinkedIn inbox was flooded (albeit with a lot of dead-ends and really early-stage startups). I frequently browsed job postings and reached out to recruiters i had met along the years. Time wasn’t on my side and I recognized that I’d have about two weeks to go from holding a rescinded offer to a newly accepted one. Found some leads and, 4 coding challenges and 14 interviews later, I held offers from Snap, Bloomberg, Blend and Roblox. I found myself most passionate and motivated to work on a product I used daily and decided to join Snap!

Final Thoughts

This experience really underscored the value of networking for me. Over the past couple of years, I have met a lot of people through interviews, internships, conferences and miscellaneous programs. Some I'd only met through engaging with them on LinkedIn. My biggest

There's a real humbling irony in the progression from having tens of summer internship offers in the Fall to scrambling for one in April. This year goes to show that employment and career success is largely at the hands of luck (or the lack thereof.)

That said, I recognized my situation could have easily been worse and that losing an internship my sophomore summer is certainly not the worst thing that could happen to me. Several full time employees and recent graduates were furloughed through this tough time and my heart goes out to all of them. Even more importantly, the coronavirus has taken the lives of many and the loved ones of many more. My greatest fortune through all of this is in the health of myself, family and friends. I offer my deepest condolences to all those affected by the coronavirus to any degree and would like to help in any way possible.

I aspire to continue to share the love and support I received from my community tenfold. I hope to use this blog-site to inspire and empower others to defy the odds and overcome their obstacles.

Stay safe and best wishes,