The Reality of Entrepreneurship and Business in “The Intern”

Image credit: IMDb

It takes a great movie to capture the realities of a situation or in “The Intern” case, the realities of entrepreneurship. Some of you may have already seen trailer or even the movie itself and thought that it was simply just another nostalgic Nancy Meyers movie but the underlying messages shined throughout the plot.

“The Intern” starts out with the introduction of Ben Whittaker (Robert De Niro), a 70 year old widower, who is lost in the freedom of retirement. Discovering an opportunity to rejoin the business industry he becomes a senior intern at rapidly expanding fashion site, About the There he is assigned to help founder and CEO, Jules Ostin (Anne Hathaway). Used to working alone and believing the whole senior intern program is trivial, Jules simply writes Ben off. During this time Ben becomes the “Mr. Congeniality” of the office by helping out in any way possible while learning about the new world of technology. The future of ATF is put at stake for Jules when she learns that the investors want to bring in a seasoned CEO to run the company before it gets out of hand. Through this decision Ben continues to watch out for Jules’ best interest and they form a friendship. In this relationship Ben is able to mentor Jules about life, business, and marriage. It is due to his advice and guidance that Jules’ decides to make the best decision for her company. (For the full story “The Intern” is now available on Blu Ray, DVD, and Digital HD.)

Watch the trailer here.

The Lessons Learned:

Jules is the ultimate entrepreneur; she started ATF with the idea that the company would slowly grow over time but she never imagined that the business would hit their 5 year goals in just 18 months! Along with being a CEO, she wears the hat of mother, wife, and is involved with every department of her company. In scenes she is seen talking with disgruntled customers, reviewing how items are shipped, and dealing with investors. Jules knows how her company should be run and cares about the brand ATF has created. When she is faced with the fact that her investors think she is too inexperienced to remain the CEO it evokes sympathy with the audience. Even with the idea that she would have to report to someone Jules is determined that IF she does hire a CEO it will be someone who cares about ATF and will help it grow. Through the mentor-ship of Ben she is able to realize that no one will ever care about ATF like she does and decides that the best option for her company is to remain the CEO. Her struggles are similar to the everyday entrepreneur who juggles running a company while balancing their personal life.

Beyond the lessons of entrepreneurship through Jules, Ben plays an important role as an intern and mentor. When he joins ATF he is enthusiastic and although he is not utilized by Jules he finds things to be done. His approachable and helpful attitude earns the respect of his co-workers who then name him “Mr. Congeniality.” Ben has the ability to observe everything that is going on around him and sees what needs to be done. He finally wins Jules over by listening to her complain about the office “junk desk” and actually cleaning it up. His positive mindset and work ethic are perfect examples of what a good intern should be. Beyond being an observant and helpful intern Ben represents the original principles that the business industry was based on. He insists on dressing in a suit and working until Jules leave. He reminds the millennials about “old school” business and how in the modern industry it can set you apart. Through this Ben becomes a mentor for Jules and helps her find control in her world on chaos.

Yes, this movie is based on a fashion site startup and sets an unrealistic idea that a company can skyrocket to success in just 18 months. However, the messages in this movie are directly connected to the entrepreneurial world. It is all about a dedicated entrepreneur who cares deeply about her company and how she is able to find a mentor and friend from an unlikely senior intern. The beauty of this film is its ability to show the reality of being an entrepreneur in the industry but also bringing in the personal journey that comes along with this career. If you find yourself struggling with being an entrepreneur or need to have a laugh, take a night and watch “The Intern”, it will help remind you why you choose this career and why you honestly love it.


See more business lessons learned from “The Intern” here!

Danielle (Dee) Donakowski
Marketing & Communications Intern

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