I got an internship offer at a startup in SF founded by a Penn alum and a MIT alum. The position is as a general analyst. However, they’re only offering me a $4k stipend total for 10 weeks. That seems really unfair, especially given that equates to less than minimum wage  in an expensive city like San Francisco. Does anyone have any advice for navigating this situation? Do I have any legal grounds to negotiate for more?

congrats on the offer! and you're right, that's a low stipend... but it is a startup: there's a huge gap between what startups and larger companies pay interns.

if they didn't say that the stipend is non-negotiable, then i would first ask them clarifying questions i.e. how much general analyst interns are paid, how do interns find housing. do you know anyone who's worked at that startup before? it would help if you could get more insider advice about how the startup operates. but again, it really depends on how much funding a startup has. it doesn't hurt to ask if they could give you more money to cover living expenses though.

i guess it depends on what's important to you and what options you have now. what other options do you have for the summer (e.g. do you have to do an internship?)? do you really like the work they're doing? if money isn't a big issue for you, working at the startup might be a good experience to have on your resume, and then you can transition into more established companies the next time you interview. that seems more realistic if SF is your home since it's so expensive to rent an apartment there. maybe you can sleep on a friend's couch and pay a super low rent (or do some work for them in exchange for staying at their place) or finesse an affordable housing option. couchsurf is worth checking out.

that's my two cents though. i would ask other people to see what they think.

Hopeful Horse, 3/22/20 12:53pm