Student Experience | Navigating a Summer Internship in Finance

Highland Capital Management Tower Scholar Zubair Benyacoub writes about his experience completing a summer internship at Clavis Capital Partners as a Summer Private Equity Analyst.

Expectation vs. Reality?

Hard numbers and negotiations vs. extensive research and evidence finding.

What did you do? What were your responsibilities?

I worked on writing executive summaries and industry research. This work would be sent to banks to justify them funding the acquisitions we wanted to make. This was especially important because the industries we specialize in are highly cyclical; therefore, you need a lot of hard evidence to show that these companies are going to be good investment both in the short and long term. In addition, I also performed comparative and transactional analysis on companies to give a valuation range for the company we were looking to acquire.

What did you gain from the experience?

My skills in Office grew immensely, namely in the efficiency in which I can get work done with the software. On top of that, doing research all day and writing summaries on it definitely gave me an incredible foundational knowledge in the Industrials and Energy industries. This work also improved my ability to really “tell a story” well, and effectively show the value of a company in both qualitative and quantitative ways.

What are some words of advice that you have for others in the Program? How has your TSP experience helped you at your internship?

I only got this internship position by cold calling 20 different firms near my home town. I would definitely recommend this, and not feel afraid to put yourself out there to get what you want. My boss even told me that they only hired grad students, but he liked that I was “punching up.” I probably would’ve started my search a lot earlier, rather than only a couple months before the summer, to more comfortably secure an internship. Although I am a new member of the TSP, it was a good talking point during my interview; looking at things with a public policy lens was interesting to my boss, and I’ve had to do it quite often, especially working with the highly regulated industries of Industrials and Energy.

High point?

Writing the summary that got us $125 MM of funding.