Startup Culture

June 26, 2017
Reading Time: about 3 minutes


There’s great internships, then there’s great internships. My first week at Course Hero was nothing short of phenomenal. Every detail had been meticulously thought through; my experience with onboarding and connecting with my team was facilitated and streamlined. Prior to my first day, upon receiving my offer, multiple people at Course Hero who I had never even interacted with before reached out to me congratulating me on my new opportunity. At the time, I was somewhat conflicted between Course Hero and several other companies. However, I can now say with confidence that I made the right choice.

The Offer Experience

With my offer also came several useful documents - a tech stack spreadsheet, intern benefits infographic, company culture and values presentation. Several months later, on the first day of finals week, my recruiter (shoutout to Mabel So), as well as my team, sent me a Course Hero jacket along with a note wishing me the best on my finals. With my imminent first day, the HR team sent me an onboarding link with the formal documents to sign and submit. However, even this experience was ameliorated by the materials surrounding it. The onboarding site led me through Course Hero’s history, its vision, how my team falls in place, my team members, and how I fall along with Course Hero’s progress.

Just a couple days before I started, HR sent me first day instructions, the employee handbook, and directions to the Caltrain and the Pacific Shores Shuttle. Upon arrival, I was given a tour by several different people around the beautiful campus to the infinite snacks, the river flowing alongside, and the game rooms nearby. Before long, I was settled into my desk and introduced to my workplace proximity associates.

Course Hero Snacks
Course Hero Snacks
Day 1 Desk
Day 1 Desk

My Phenomenal First Week

My first few days consisted of one on one meetings with each team member allowing me to get to know them on a personal level. People were endlessly welcoming and helpful as I settled into my new home. I distinctly remember my manager explaining his role - “to support and help the team succeed”. With organized and efficient documentation, my development environment was set up by the end of day one. With the subsequent days, I was onboarded by two team members who taught me about the tools across the entire stack and helped me with my many questions. Finally, my mentor (Shannon Nachreiner!) assigned me a task and I started working on it. I hope to push it out for QA tomorrow.

Besides the fantastic interviewing and introduction experience from HR, here are some significant observations about my team and Course Hero’s collaboration structure.

  1. Onboarding included teaching me how each part of the tech stack worked. Although I was familiar with many web development concepts, the syntax and PHP specifics were foreign to me. Repositories, DQL, and Entity Managers would have been far more difficult to learn without the mentorship.
  2. I was offered help and support with any/all of my questions and even with help on my first feature. Many of my experiences have involved struggling for hours on my own to find a trivial but tool-specific bug.
  3. Most importantly, I was introduced and given time to bond with each member of my team.
Course Hero View
Course Hero View


There are three significant events that have already happened. First, the CEO and CFO spoke to the company at a biweekly meeting where ALL of the employees gather. This meeting celebrated the company’s wins and recognized remarkable attitudes and work. Second, we went on a sponsored company trip to Great America. Finally, today, we had a meeting “Stories of Course Hero” in which people shared meaningful experiences from their lives. To be honest, the fact that the environment was friendly and supportive enough for these people to open up as they did was truly remarkable to me.

All in all, I’m extremely excited to be contributing to Course Hero for the rest of the Summer!