Why Othot Has More Interns Than Employees - It's Not About the Money

Starting in May and running through August, Othot LLC will have twice as many interns as employees as 11 college students are slated to join the cloud-based predictive analytics company

Each has different start and end dates, due to their personal calendars, but all overlap. It’s also double the biggest crop of interns Othot has previously brought simultaneously to its Green Tree offices.

Six hail from Pitt, where Othot CEO Andrew Hannah is an adjunct professor of analytics and entrepreneurship, and four are from Carnegie Mellon University, where Hannah previously taught and spun out technology. One’s from Point Park. So he’s capitalized on the opportunity to interact with students.

“They’re immediately able to add value to a business,” Hannah said.

He said it’s not about Othot saving on costs, but about access to talent and different views and the company’s hiring pipeline. On the heels of Othot announcing on Monday that it has raised $1.7 million from outside investors, capital that will be partly deployed to increase staff, Hannah talked to the Business Times about his supersized crop of interns.

Why so many interns?

We have discreet projects that are well made for short sprints of activity (and) wanted to maximize the number of high performance interns that we could secure. We believe that the quality and insights of our interns makes us better. Most folks think interns watch or shadow a fair bit of the time. Othot interns do real things — lots of things — and important ones. They also add a fresh perspective for us. Exceptionally smart people, pointed at the right problems and free to explore creative solutions, can be extremely effective and make us all think differently.

What sort of work will they be doing?

We can make material advances in our technology, platforms, and business operations through these sprint activities with this team. They will be working on advanced algorithms, data curation and software platform advances.

Is it difficult to accommodate so many?

I guess we’ll find out. We have a solid work plan for each of them and will be a bit challenged for space but we’ll work it out.

How does this class of interns differ from past ones?

I think we’ve had five max at any one period of time but the workload was typically 10 to 15 hours per week. This summer will be the first time with 10 interns working 40 hours per week.

Have you hired interns?

Absolutely. We have already hired one of our first interns into our data science group and she’s nearing her first year anniversary with the company. And we recently made a full-time offer to one of our interns after her graduation in May 2017. We’re fortunate that she said yes.

Do you plan in the future to expand the field for interns to other schools in the region?

We have been contacted by students at different schools and would certainly consider it. We are very focused on the region right now. The talent pool is enormous.

You interned at IBM and Deloitte — what was your takeaway from that experience?

Fit. Find where you fit — where you like the people, the work and the product you are delivering. That is the secret to early career success.

What do you want the Othot interns to gain?

A rich experience where they believe they have contributed to the long term success of the business. I want them to have fun and realize that work and life are symbiotic in a good way.


The original article appeared on the Pittsburgh Business Times, which you can read here.