By the time Lauren Berger graduated from University of Central Florida in 2006, she had 15 internships already under her belt. So she felt like an expert when it came to finding and getting them. Even when she landed her first job at Creative Artists Agency, she told everyone who would listen that she was "The Intern Queen."
She talked about it so much a Hollywood producer took notice and offered to help her launch it as her personal brand.
Now, at only 25, she's living her dream of helping college students land their dream internships via her site Internqueen.com. Business Week last year includes her in its Best Entrepreneurs Under 25.
Money College: You're known for completing 15 internships in four years. How did you go about getting your first internship?
Intern Queen: I went into my (school's) career center and [because I was a freshman at the time], they didn't think I could get an internship until I was a senior. I ended up calling the company directly then putting together a resume and cover letter. I was called in for the interview the next day and I was offered the internship the day after that.
MC: How did you move forward from there?
IQ: I just kept setting my sights higher. Right after [my first internship], I went to New York City for the summer and I managed two internships at the same time. Each semester in school, I would either double or triple the internships up. One summer, I did three internships at the same time: NBC, FOX, and MTV -- all in Los Angeles.
MC: How did you balance being a full-time student with all these internships?
IQ:: I always tell students that if they are going to balance an internship during the school year, they really need to coordinate their class schedule first. I would either have classes every day in the morning, intern in the afternoon, and work in the evening. Or I would have classes all day on Monday and Wednesday and then intern on the other days.
MC: Of the 15 internships that you completed, was there one that was most memorable for you and if so, why?
IQ: I was an intern at the Daily Buzz in Orlando, which is a nationally-syndicated morning show, and I had to keep the same hours as the staff did. Me and my class of interns would wake up at 2 a.m. To do an internship like that and school was really difficult. But we managed and we learned so much. As an entrepreneur today, I really learned how to run a business.
MC: What job were you working toward with those internships and at what point did that change?
IQ: When I first started in college, I was not sure what I wanted to do. I knew I was very interested in media and entertainment and the writing side of things. When I graduated college in 2006, I moved out to Los Angeles, and I called up contacts from my internships and they helped me land at Creative Artists Agency, the largest talent agency in the world. I had already decided that I wanted to start a company called Intern Queen, but I needed to work and make money. So I worked [at CAA] for two and half years as an assistant. I always told as many people as I could that I was the Intern Queen and I was going to start this business [ ...] and one day I got a call from Marshall Herskovitz, the big movie producer. He did Blood Diamond, My So- Called Life and Traffic. He said, 'Lauren, I like what you're doing with this. Quit your job and let's do this together.'
MC:Once you got that call, how did you go about creating a business plan for Intern Queen?
IQ: I would love to say that I created this great business plan, but that really wasn't the case. My idea for Marshall was that it was going to be an internship listing site and it was be a very personalized service. The heart of Intern Queen is that someone, not just a computer, is on [the students'] side and really helping them throughout this internship journey.
Follow @internqueen on Twitter for Berger's "Internship Tip of Today" and make sure to participate in the #internchat discussion on Twitter every other Tuesday at 7 p.m. EST occurring next on March 30.
Follow the intern pay debate!!