Funding Source: Whitehead Internship Program
This summer, I had the privilege of interning at Oberon Securities. Oberon is a middle market investment bank. The firm advises during transactions such as the purchase or sale of a company (on both the buy and sell side), and conducts debt/equity raising efforts for companies looking to grow. When looking for a sophomore summer internship, I wanted to find an opportunity to learn skills that would allow me to grow and serve as a good foundation for a career in finance. Over the course of the summer, I was able to get in-depth experience with three active deals.
The first was the sale of a $10mil+ revenue photo studio. A colleague and I were tasked with going through the studio’s accounting journal entries, and from this raw data, building a monthly three statement Excel model. This model was able to project, for the next five years, the company’s gross profit, EBITDA, and net income. We used the three statement model to build a Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) model, which is key in determining the fair value of a business. While completing these exercises, I became very comfortable with complex Excel skills and functions. I was also able to draft and edit an investment teaser, which is used to present information to potential buyers in a confidential manner. This is an important step that must be completed before the deal enters the market.
Additionally, I was able to get exposure to a deal involving a boutique collectibles manufacturer. On this project, I was tasked with creating slides and editing material for a confidential investment memorandum (CIM). This allowed me to build my PowerPoint skills. A CIM describes how the company is organized, all of the products or services the company provides, possible growth opportunities for the company, the financial information of the company, and more.
The final deal I worked on was the sale of a jewelry retailer. The other interns and I were able to do a deep dive into the LOI (letter of intent) with a potential buyer. We generated a cost-benefit analysis, as well as a sensitivity table to determine the ideal value of certain line items during EBITDA adjustments. We were able to support the senior bankers by learning about asset versus stock purchases, rollover equity, sellers notes, earnouts, and sources versus uses tables. In addition to all of these deals, I was also able to support the day-to-day operations of the bankers by organizing and participating in client meetings and conducting research using S&P Capital IQ to identify comparable companies and deals and potential investors, buyers, and sellers (both strategic and financial). All of these experiences allowed me to build both my technical and interpersonal skills.
Oberon’s top-heavy team allows interns to work very closely with the senior bankers. In addition to working with the bankers, I greatly appreciated that there were eight other interns. I was able to make good friendships and look to stay in touch as our intern class works to build their careers in finance. It was also really cool to be able to work in person with these interns. Investment banking is a very social and face-to-face business, so it was really meaningful for me to be able to go into the office.
For someone looking to break into the world of finance, preparation and networking connections are very important. In addition to strong grades, it is vital to start early and work hard throughout the process. My advice would be to set aside 5-10 hours a week during your sophomore year for technical interview preparation and networking calls in order to land an internship for the summer after your junior year. These jobs are very competitive because they might result in a return offer to join the bank after graduation. Almost all of the recruiting and interviewing for some finance positions is done during the spring of the sophomore year. At the end of the day, those in charge of hiring will hire people with skills and people they judge to be a hard worker and a good fit. Also, reach out to those who have gone through the recruiting process recently, even students. The process has evolved over the years, and those who have done it recently may have good tips.