By Jimena Quiroz
During the third period of the IMBA program, students have the chance to participate in the Start Up or Business Transformation Labs, or alternatively to find an internship program. As I would like to work in a different country following the IMBA, I wanted to explore the possibility of doing an internship there to assess potential employment opportunities. Also, I wanted to use this opportunity to try out a different discipline within the financial world. Despite the short amount of time that the internship would last, I could obtain more information on important knowledge gaps and choose my elective courses accordingly.
Having worked for a banking institution for most of my professional career, I wanted to find an internship that could allow me to explore and learn from a more social and humanistic side of finance. As a Mexican, I am deeply aware of the income inequality gap in most emerging economies, and I feel compelled to contribute to reducing the poverty cycle. Thus, I looked amongst several funds across Latin America, all of which provided funding either to microfinance corporations or directly to small and medium enterprises (“SMEs”) lacking technical and financial resources. Most funds did not have internship programs open at the time, but, fortunately, a Private Equity dedicated to impact investing had an opening, for which I applied and was hired for a 7-week period.
My overall experience working at the fund was truly enriching from a personal and a professional perspective. During my time working as an intern, I managed to improve my time management skills, especially when working under two different managers. The latter combined with patience and hard work allowed me to overcome knowledge gaps, and gain managers´ trust. Additionally, being new in the Private Equity world, this experience helped me understand a different side of finance, opening a new set of career paths I could potentially pursue after completing my MBA.
Aside from acquiring tangible technical capabilities such as financial valuation and portfolio investment techniques, one the most valuable lessons that I learned came from the fund´s business model in itself. This experience made me realize that a company can both generate profitable returns and have an impact on society, or that flexible work environments can surprisingly result in deliverables of the highest standards from highly-motivated employees. My perspective on the financial world and its underlying dynamics was positively changed with this experience. I recommend all of those interested in changing their career track after the IMBA to try to find an internship. There is no better way to truly understand the fundamentals of unknown business areas than through personal experience.