Former Chairwoman and Chief Executive Officer of Xerox Anne Mulcahy once said: “Employees are a company’s greatest asset – they’re your competitive advantage.” When you are asked what makes a good teacher, leader or worker, it is ultimately the zeal, passion and dedication in their field. That is precisely what I had the opportunity to witness during my internship.
For three weeks, I was part of a team of skilled investment professionals. This apparently narrow term is, in fact, broader than one might think. The company ranges from fund administrators and lawyers to people taking care of investor relations. I was astonished by their expertise and professional approach, whilst maintaining a friendly company culture. To confess, my anticipations were slightly skeptical before starting as I’ve heard numerous cases where interns represented a burden rather than added value to the company. Nevertheless, on the first day I was splendidly surprised by the fact that my expectations were proven wrong.
For the first two to three days, people from InfraPartners Management found the time in their packed schedules to induct me into different operating sectors. My attention was firstly drawn to venture capital and infrastructure. The information I gained was thereafter utilized in assigned research about potential funding in one of the IPM-backed projects. The task continued till the end of my first week.
After the weekend, I was already adapted to my fairly flexible schedule. I usually worked from 9:00 am till 5:00 pm. However, when I needed to arrange something important outside of work, my mentors were very forthright and understanding. On the other hand, I was always welcome to stay longer and finish my work. I spent my second week working on research regarding a growth project. My mentors also mentioned that the research nicely complemented their work. As I mentioned, adding some value to the company was one of my crucial objectives during my stay, therefore, I always hoped my inputs served them well.
The last week my work was related to commodity trading and the stock exchange. After meeting with the IPM commodities manager, I was supposed to study the basics of fundamental and technical analyses of trading. My job was to observe how different political announcements and macro-trends influence fluctuations on a particular market. I also implemented basic trend-following rules to see whether they correctly predict price movement. A substantial part of this week was dedicated to my own learning rather than actual work for the company. Nevertheless, internships are ultimately learning experiences, so I was truly glad about this special chance. I’ve always been fascinated by trading, whether financial assets or commodities and my internship gave me a skeletal background, insights and even tips and tricks.
Looking back at my internship one week after, I firmly believe it was one of the best, if not the best experience for my future career growth. It is not usual for high-school students to take part in an internship during their time before universities. However, I cannot express anything else other than a sincere recommendation to “venture” and apply, as it could significantly impact one’s decision on what to study and maybe even pursue further in life.
Written by Ján Hlinka, Year 3 student