When Sezzle first signed up for the SciTech Internship Program in 2017, they were working out of an attic office space in Uptown with no more than 10 employees. Seven years saw significant growth for the Minneapolis-based fintech company, as they became one of the most profitable Buy Now Play Later (BNPL) system providers in the industry.

The roots of Sezzle’s growth are founded in the company’s dedication to workforce development. Reaching back in their Minneapolis community, they regularly invest in local talent, hiring data science, mathematics and computer science majors for part-time and full-time internships.

“We want to bring someone in at the college level so we can train them from the ground up,” explained Marissa McGraw, a Talent Acquisition Associate at Sezzle. “Having the opportunity to then bring them on full-time is really important. Speaking from experience, I started at Sezzle as an intern, and it established a sense of community. I think the younger you start, the more invested in the company you are. You want to stay and you want to see the company succeed.”

Sezzle’s community was a big draw for Jay Tran, a computer science major at Macalester. “They were really friendly, and they seemed very excited about their work.” Tran recalled from her interview. “I knew they often hired seniors after their internship, and I saw a lot of opportunity there.”

During her interview, Tran was asked about her goals and what she hoped to gain from an internship. When she expressed an interest to improve her full stack capabilities, Tran’s supervisors made sure to incorporate full stack development into her experience.

“Our interns actually contribute to meaningful activities and do hands-on work,” said Nili Waypa, Sezzle’s Director of Analytics Engineering. “Especially in the data side, we let all our interns program in Sequel and Python and contribute to our code base on projects that otherwise fulltime people would take on.”

A blueprint for success
Once she was trained in, Tran’s main project involved helping to improve Sezzle’s user interface. She created reusable components that made the interface more consistent and user friendly. Tran also frequently coordinated with team members from different departments, fixing bugs and improving features as needed.

“I’m doing a lot of hands-on work, collaborating with senior software engineers and seeing my actual impact on the product,” Tran said. “In previous internships I’ve had, I still felt like an intern, because a lot of the time I was only doing side tasks. But at Sezzle, whenever I work on a task, I’m encouraged to look around, understand the code and the bigger picture, not just the task I’m working on. It’s part of a huge code base that a lot of people have worked on, and now that includes me.”

The highlight of Tran’s internship, she said, came from that level of collaboration and inclusion, and it was that extra effort that made her internship a success.

“By making our interns feel like they’re part of the team, that their contributions matter and are valuable to the company, I think that really helps interns want to stay,” said McGraw.

And she was right! As Tran’s internship came to a close, she was offered a full-time position at Sezzle, which she gladly accepted.

“I’m very excited to be joining them again after graduation.”

Get involved!
Small to mid-sized Minnesota companies working in fintech and other STEM industries can enroll in the SciTech Program to connect to talent and strengthen their workforce.

Every hire through SciTech reserves a grant that reimburses employers for half of what they pay their interns, up to $2,500 per student hired.

Enroll today to hire talent and reserve your funds.