Hisaoka Fellow Interns at Smith Alum Startup Rybbon

This summer, several Smith MBA students have been interning at startups through the Hisaoka Fellowship program. Hisaoka fellows are awarded a $5,000 scholarship if they are able to secure a summer internship with venture capital or angel-funded startups and early stage companies. The Dingman Center interviewed each fellow about their experience.

Jennifer Hwang – Rybbon

Tell us about Rybbon. What is the company’s mission and core competencies?

Rybbon delivers egift cards for businesses to prospects and customers, and for market researchers to survey respondents. Rybbon’s integration with Marketo, Hubspot, and SurveyMonkey enables Rybbon users to automate gifting. Users can also send gifts directly through Rybbon’s platform. What sets company apart is that Rybbon lets its users own the gifting experience. Users can customize the gift email and the landing page, and the gift email arrives from the user’s own email address. Recipients can easily see who the email is from (not a third party) and appreciates the gift. This helps the sender increase engagement with the recipient.

Of course other gift delivery services exist, but users lose the opportunity to create engagement with their customers when a third party delivers the gifts. The first time I met the CEO of Rybbon, Jignesh Shah, he explained it to me this way and it stuck with me: It’s like buying a ring and sending the jeweler to propose to your fiancé!

Tell us about your responsibilities thus far at Rybbon?

So far, I’ve:

  • Used Screenflow to create video tutorials for customers to ensure smooth user experience
  • Written blog posts for the Rybbon blog to promote Rybbon services
  • Managed and generated content for Twitter to promote Rybbon services
  • Performed product testing to ensure quality assurance
  • Promoted Rybbon services via Quora
  • Assisted with producing ebooks
  • Conducted general website maintenance
  • Performed administrative work (updating customer info via Salesforce, etc)

What projects are you most looking forward to working on with Rybbon?

To be honest, I don’t really know what I’ll be working on next. Every week there’s something new. This is what makes interning at Rybbon exciting!

Why did you want an internship with Rybbon? 


Jignesh Shah – CEO of Rybbon, Smith School alumnus and Dingman Center Angels investor

I received more than one internship offer and I wanted to work with Rybbon for two reasons. First, I knew I’ll be working directly with Jignesh. Jignesh is a Smith alum with over 20 years of marketing experience. Prior to starting Rybbon with Rybbon’s CTO Rajeev Veetil, Jignesh served as the CMO of Metalogix. As an MBA student with a concentration in marketing, this mentoring opportunity was impossible to pass. Second, I knew I would learn new skills at Rybbon. Rybbon’s job posting clearly outlined what an intern can expect to take away by the end of the summer and that was a big draw for me. Other internship offers I received only wanted me to utilize my existing skillset. That is the nature of many internship and job offers–you bring what you already have to the job and you may or may not have an opportunity for growth.

What do you hope to gain from a summer spent at Rybbon?

I hope to learn everything I possibly can from Jignesh. So far I’ve already learned how to use programs or platforms such as WordPress, Screenflow, Salesforce, and yes, Twitter. This week Jignesh showed me something really cool—Paper.li. There’s always something new to learn at Rybbon.

What has been the biggest adjustment?

I took a summer class to get some credits out of the way. Balancing my internship and class work has been the biggest adjustment. I now definitely have a lot of respect for part-time MBA students.

HisaokaHwangJennifer Hwang is interested in Marketing and Human Capital. Before she decided to pursue an MBA, Jennifer looked to her maternal great grandmother, who started her own tea leaf retail business, for inspiration and confidence. Prior to starting her MBA at Smith, Jennifer worked for four years in higher education and publishing. Since orientation, Jennifer has taken advantage of the resources offered by the Dingman Center such as Dingman Fridays. She is passionate about food and would love to work in the food industry upon graduation.

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