Where Did Bill Gates, Steve Jobs & Other Legends Work As Interns?

By James Mills, Associate Partner & Mentorship Coach, Lighthouse International

When they start their careers, legends value the opportunity to learn from others, more than receiving a big salary.

It can be easy to think that many people we consider legends are those who simply walked into their roles as internationally-recognised stars, entrepreneurs and leaders. So where did the likes of Bill Gates and Steve Jobs start their careers? Inc. magazine published an article about their experiences ... and a selection of other legends who took their first career steps through internships.

Sean Combs (AKA P. Diddy)

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Better known as Puff Daddy, P.Diddy, or just Diddy, the hip-hop artist interned at Uptown Records in New York after dropping out of Howard University. He was eventually fired from the record label and started his own successful venture in 1993, Bad Boy Records.  


Lori Greiner

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The Shark Tank and QVC host started out as a journalist before jumping into entrepreneurship. She interned for The Chicago Tribune while still an undergraduate student at Loyola University Chicago. 


Bill Gates

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The billionaire and Microsoft founder had an interest in more than just technology from early on. He was a congressional page for his state legislature in Seattle and later a congressional page for the House of Representatives in 1973, at the age of 18. 


Elizabeth Holmes

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The controversial founder of Theranos interned at the Genome Institute in Singapore doing research on SARS the summer after her first year at Stanford University. Before completing her sophomore year, she dropped out to work full-time on her health-tech startup. 


Steve Jobs

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The Apple founder had a voracious hunger for knowledge since childhood. At 12, he cold-called Bill Hewlett asking for frequency counterparts. The Hewlett-Packard founder agreed to give him the parts and offered Jobs a summer internship at HP as well. 


Elon Musk

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The billionaire entrepreneur and Tesla Motors founder held several internships before making it in the big leagues. He was a summer intern at the Bank of Nova Scotia, while still at Queens University in Ontario; an intern at Microsoft Canada; and a video game programmer for Rocket Science Games. Musk later moved to California to start a PhD in physics and interned at Pinnacle Research, an energy storage startup.   


Betsey Johnson

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The 73-year-old fashion designer and founder of her namesake fashion label started her career working for Mademoiselle magazine the summer after graduating from Syracuse University in 1964. 


Evan Spiegel

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The Snapchat founder and CEO worked as an unpaid intern for Red Bull after high school. Later, while completing a degree in product design at Stanford University, he interned at biotech company Abraxis BioScience and worked at software company Intuit. 


Kevin Systrom

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The Instagram co-founder and CEO worked as a technical and business intern at podcasting platform startup Odeo--created by Evan Williams and Noah Glass, who later co-founded Twitter--where he created the Odeo Widget and "otherwise caused trouble." He was still an undergraduate at Stanford University at the time. 

In all of these cases, these legends recognised the need for experience and indeed contacts that would help them on the path to success. They didn't just dive into their careers without any form of discovery or preparation; they wanted to learn from others. It's worth adding, that when they didn't have the connections, they went out and made them! Whether we are looking for an internship, a new job or a promotion, the most important thing is to make sure that we have the support network in place. This not only open up opportunities but also to enable us subsequently to succeed.

We'd like to thank Inc. magazine for publishing these stories along with others here.

If you are looking for further legendary career advice, then definatelt check out this article... 6 Legends Offer Essential Career Advice To 22-Year-Olds.

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