Alex did an internship during the summer before the final term of his finance degree at West Virginia University in the USA
What attracted you to The Intern Group?
I really wanted to get international experience but hadn't had the chance to study abroad. I saw as the perfect opportunity to get work experience and immerse myself in another culture.
How does the internship work?
You choose the field you'd like to do an internship in. You also choose which country you'd like to go to and how long you want to go for. I worked as a mergers and acquisitions (M&A) analyst for ONEtoONE Corporate Finance for two months in Madrid, Spain.
How did you find the transition from study to work?
I really liked it and enjoyed being given a lot of responsibility from day one. I also learned the importance of attention to detail. I should have learned this at university, I suppose, but it’s different in the workplace.
In M&A, everything you work on is a deliverable (gets presented or delivered to the client), and as such must be perfect. I distinctly remember being asked to fix a presentation and, after seeing nothing wrong with it, my boss pulled me aside and showed me that the table columns on different slides were different sizes. At first I was frustrated as it seemed somewhat ridiculous, but I learned that the little things and the detail set the best apart from the rest.
What was a typical day like?
I had a range of responsibilities, mainly doing research for our deals. I did industry and economic analysis, created teasers and other pitches, contributed to company information memorandums, and created industry segmentations for potential deals. I thoroughly enjoyed working in an international office and the two-hour lunches were nothing to complain about either.
What did you enjoy about your internship?
I really liked the role and the team. I became extremely close with some members of my team, and still frequently Skype with them.
As I was doing an international internship, I made sure to explore as much of Spain as possible. I would have to say going to San Fermin and running with the bulls was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and quite frankly a lot of fun.
How did the experience benefit your career?
If I hadn't done this internship, I wouldn't have the job I have right now. After graduating in December, ONEtoONE hired me to help them expand into the United States. I was their first employee in New York which meant I had a lot expected of me. Having the foundation I built during the internship is helping me to learn quickly.
What advice would you give to anyone planning on doing an internship?
It's an absolutely fantastic experience. Do it. I loved my time in Madrid, both professionally and personally. Interning abroad forces you to immerse yourself, and teaches you that there are other ways of doing and seeing things. It really broadens your perspective, challenges the truths that you hold to be self-evident, and greatly increases the empathy and understanding that you have for others both at home and abroad.