Getting started in Private Equity; how we designed our summer internship program
Last summer was unlike any other for our team as we immersed ourselves in a new experience, kicking off the first OMERS Private Equity summer internship program. Recently, I had the chance to reflect on the great work done by our intern class and want to share some highlights.
First off, we were very intentional about creating meaningful experiences for our interns – experiences that replicate the real life, day-to-day work we do as private equity professionals. It was also important that we offered professional development opportunities and the chance to grow and expand technical skillsets.
Our team got together before launching the program and we talked candidly on our past internship opportunities – some of which, unfortunately, missed the mark. Which is why we wanted to make sure our program would be well-rounded and structured. Turns out, it was a winning approach that resulted in highly engaged students and OPE team members. Here’s what we focused on:
Real work experiences – Each of the eight weeks had a specific focus area (business development, asset management, the PE deal process or leveraged buyout modeling). Students attended a training session each week and then completed a related deliverable while also completing ad-hoc tasks assigned to them and participating in team calls and meetings (who can’t relate!)
Technical skills – We focused on teaching the fundamental skills needed to work and excel in the world of private equity, including basic accounting, valuation, financial modeling and industry research. This was followed by an opportunity to put these skills into practice through weekly deliverables and a final case study presentation including a confidential information memorandum (CIM), mirroring the process we go through when putting an asset up for sale.
Mentorship – Perhaps the most important component to our program is mentorship. We strongly feel having a mentor to help guide talent on their journey is key to unlocking their potential. At the outset of our program, interns were assigned an associate that serves as a mentor and a resource to offer guidance, assist on case studies, and facilitate connection to the firm. Following the formal summer internship, we also coordinate year-long mentorships with our team, ensuring the participants have an industry contact and ongoing career guidance support!
Thank you to our intern class for all their hard work and dedication last summer. This was an extremely talented group, and we wish them great success in their future endeavors!
I would also be remiss if I didn’t thank all of the people who made this program possible, from those that organized and coordinated weekly activities, to the associates that volunteered as mentors, to the managing directors who volunteered to judge the case studies – your commitment to our interns, especially in this remote environment, is greatly appreciated and proves once again that OPE has some of the best talent in all of private equity.