Being part of ERA comes with many benefits, including access to the brightest talent from the Columbia University MBA program. Popwallet is fortunate to have not one, but two highly motivated interns helping us with corporate strategy and marketing until the summer.

We sat down with Joelle Mendal. As a former analyst at JPMorgan Asset Management and Marketing Director at a global pet food company, she is passionate to take the next step in her career, working on the intersection of tech, strategy, and innovation.

As an MBA student, what would you like to get out of an internship at an early stage startup? Among the key takeaways from my time at my MBA, I’ve learned that launching a startup is much easier said than done. A co-founder of a reputable tech start-up recently shared the idea that starting a new venture is like agreeing to ride a long-term roller coaster; plenty of ups and downs, especially when you least expect it. With that said, I would take advantage of an opportunity to intern at an early stage startup to gain first-hand experience and understanding of how early stage companies truly operate; from obtaining financing to managing a limited budget, to proving a products’ innovation and long-term potential. I look forward to learning it all – both the pros and the cons!

You have work experiences at corporates. What are your thoughts on how start-ups and corporates can work best together? I worked in private banking for two years and while I have no regrets, my time there taught me how much I appreciate working in smaller work environments. My particular role felt somewhat routine at times and I came to realize how much I value having control of my own time and potential.

Because I’m passionate about creativity, I’d like to explore working for a start-up or in an entrepreneurial setting. I do however think that start-ups can learn from corporates in terms of structure, habits involving team cooperation and applying the practice of meeting metrics for reaching both short and long-term goals.

What excites you most about Popwallet?  I think Popwallet has managed to target an untapped niche in the mobile payments marketing space. As with all start-ups, it may take some time to prove its potential to brand managers and digital marketing agencies. Yet before we know it, credit cards will be an item of the past as will our physical wallets. Popwallet is well positioned to capitalize on this opportunity early on, as access to this new marketing channel is yet to be recognized. I love creativity and coming up with innovative solutions to an ongoing need or problem – and I think Popwallet does just that!