The biggest challenge for me is to have a shift in mindset that leads to the realization of the importance of the responsibilities I was given. Coming straight from school, it’s easy to think every task that I was assigned is a practice. However, in real life, all that matters is the delivery of results. There are times that the tasks that I was assigned seemed so insignificant that I didn’t take time to consider their seriousness, which led to missed deadlines, and as a result of that, I wasn’t given any more tasks for an entire week. Later, I was told by my associate that in investment banking, attention to detail and ability to meet deadlines are the two most important traits of any successful analysts, since a small error in a number will raise a red flag for investors and a missing deadline might lose a client. She said, “Welcome to the real world.”
I worked for the renewable energy independent power producer (IPP) sPower. They are a new company that was founded in 2012, located in Salt Lake City, Utah. Essentially, sPower either through origination or acquisition, operates and sells wind/solar power to utility companies (like Southern California Edison). I was the first “un-paid” intern ever at sPower, so my experience was quite unique, but everybody there welcomed me with open arms and had lots for me to do. I worked with business development/project management to oversee both potential and operating energy projects (sPower has over 150 operating projects). Some of my various tasks included conducting “due diligence” as part of the acquisition process, finding the “right” numbers for the finance team so they could input them into their financial models, and assisting the accounting team with filing paperwork/documents into the appropriate dropbox files. It was a great experience because I got to participate in several different divisions of the company giving me a broad overview of how/what the company does.
Summer is the time you find out who you are and what you want to be.
I spent more than two months working in a bank. I hated the fixed schedule and the redundancy caused by the hierarchy of a state-owned firm, but I loved being an analyst. I loved the feeling of sorting things out and putting my research together for a presentation.