My summer internship was spent with New Capital Partners, a Birmingham (AL) based private equity firm with $225m under management. As a smaller, entrepreneurial fund, New Capital interns are involved in all aspects of the business. I had the chance to review potential investment opportunities, diligence companies that the fund was interested in acquiring, and help portfolio companies improve their ongoing operations. My expectations were that I would be heavily involved in deal sourcing and helping portfolio companies, however, I was surprised at just how hands on my involvement ended up being. For example, I spent 3 weeks in Houston helping a portfolio company improve their inventory reporting and management practices by looking at inventory balances down to the penny.
Many classes from my first year helped prepare me for my summer experiences. Courses that stand out are Commercializing Innovation, Private Equity Lab, and Negotiations. The first two allowed me two better identify risk when looking at new deals. The latter gave me a framework for working with people when our incentives weren't completely aligned. Working with people with different functional experience, education, and interests showed me that building great companies is most importantly about people. At New Capital Partners, they spend a significant amount of time recruiting, training, and developing people that are excited about building companies that will change an industry. The importance of motivating and incentivizing people to perform will guide me through my second year at Booth.
For those interested in private equity internships, my recommendation is to be comfortable with relevant finance and accounting topics, but also to spend time focused on operational and people-focused issues. My belief is that the latter two are likely to carry you significantly further in a private equity career, but they will also prepare you to build a business in any industry.