This September, Korea’s Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning (MSIP) announced its first “Silicon Valley Internship Program” (SVIP), which will train and send students to Silicon Valley in a bid to cultivate “globally aware tech entrepreneurs”. This internship program, which is co-organized by MSIP and the KAIST Moon Soul Graduate School of Future Strategy, is arguably different and more comprehensive than similar programs in the past offered by KAIST.
Last year, Startup KAIST had organized a “Summer Internship Program in Silicon Valley” with a similar agenda of giving students the opportunity to experience Silicon Valley’s startup culture and cultivate themselves into entrepreneurs. However, such programs have typically been limited to partnerships with a select few predetermined companies in the valley, with only MS and PhD students eligible for application.
Applications for the SVIP are open to both Korean undergraduate (sophomore and above) and graduate students. Around 35 students will be permitted through the first round of applications that is the document screening process. Candidates will largely be evaluated on their drive and motivation towards entrepreneurship, the relevance of their business ideas to their field of expertise, and the required teamwork skills and responsibility to work in a venture business company. Successful applicants will later on be paired with companies that best match the interns’ area of expertise and business ideas.
Accepted applicants will then undergo intensive “Entrepreneurship and Design & Decision” training over the course of the next five weekends. These training sessions are designed to prepare remaining applicants for the next rounds of the application process - students will present business models, first as individuals, and then in groups, drawing from what they will have learned from the training sessions. The 17 students to be sent to Silicon Valley will be determined by the performances in these series of business model presentations.
Successful applicants will be required to attend a three-month-long winter workshop before they depart for California. The workshop will give students the chance to hone their English presentation skills, refine their business models, and engage in high-intensity teamwork sessions. Applications are open until October 20. For more information visit http://www.futures.kaist.ac.kr/popup/siliconvalley.html.