At the Dingman Center, we work with many students who want to start their own business. We also work with students who don’t yet have an idea to pursue. For both groups, we encourage them to spend a summer interning in startup land. To jumpstart students’ startup careers, the Center offers two fellowship programs. Through a generous gift from UMD alumnus, Robert Hisaoka ’79, we offer the Hisaoka Fellowship Program to MBA students. In order to be selected as a Hisaoka Fellow, students must secure summer internships with VC- or angel-funded startups and early stage companies. The Dingman Center provides each Hisaoka Fellow a $5,000 stipend to supplement students’ summer salaries.
Due to overwhelming demand among undergraduate students for startup internships, one of the Hisaoka Fellowships was offered to undergraduate student, Mike Mandl. Mike has participated in our Fearless Founders accelerator program and is passionate about virtual reality technology. He worked his network in the spring to land a summer internship with YouVisit in New York City. After three weeks on the job we interviewed Mike about his experience:
Tell us about YouVisit. What is the company’s mission and core competencies?
MM: YouVisit helps industry leaders in higher education, travel and real estate increase public awareness, online traffic, quality leads, and in-person visits with immersive virtual reality experiences and virtual tours.
Tell us about your responsibilities thus far at YouVisit?
MM: Creating and editing 360 3D videos. Hopefully I will have an opportunity to go film some shots in the upcoming weeks. I have also been helping out the business development team in any capacity.
What projects are you most looking forward to working on with YouVisit?
MM: There are a few different projects that I am excited to be working on, but most of them are confidential as of now. I can say that University of Maryland just became a client, so that will be a project I intend to work closely on.
Why did you want an internship with a virtual reality company?
MM: Before I found out about YouVisit I was creating a 360 college campus tour of University of Maryland with help from the UMD startup company, VisiSonics. The virtual reality industry is estimated to be a 30 billion dollar annual industry by the year 2020. I want to continue working in this field and the best way to do that is to get work experience.
What do you hope to gain from a summer spent in NYC at YouVisit?
MM: My goal is to make as many connections as possible within the growing industry and to learn as many skills as possible relating to creating virtual reality experiences while I am interning in New York.
Have you had any cool startup/networking experiences since you’ve been in NYC?
MM: Going into work everyday has been exciting. After all the work our team has put in I am one of the first people that gets to view some of the coolest cutting-edge virtual reality experiences.
What has been the biggest adjustment as an intern in New York City?
MM: I would say my biggest adjustment has been the change in my environment. There are people everywhere doing lots of cool things at all hours in the day. I have improved managing my free time so I can take advantage of everything this city has to offer.
Mike Mandl is a University of Maryland undergraduate student majoring in economics. He has a strong interest in up-and-coming technology with the potential to disrupt markets. Mike started his own profit-generating businesses through his landscaping and cell phone repair services, ProTech MD. He spent the past year creating virtual reality college campus tours and plans to find his niche in the market after graduation.