Greetings from Boston! This summer, I traded my view of Chicago’s “Bean” sculpture for the city nicknamed Beantown (though I have avoided the eponymous summer food staple due to the recent heat spell we have been facing in the Northeast!). I am about to kick off week nine of my internship at Providence Strategic Growth, the software-focused growth equity arm of Providence Equity Partners. I have been lucky to have had an incredibly active summer—both at work and at play—slotting in on a few deal teams for platform and add-on acquisitions, attending a couple pitches and board meetings, testing out what I learned at Booth in leadership, strategic problem-solving, and even meeting up with our deans for a sneak peek at the new initiatives being implemented for the upcoming year.
Unlike many of my peers, I did not come to Booth to execute a drastic career pivot; prior to school, I was at a similar technology-focused growth equity firm and saw myself returning to both the same industry and stage of investing after Booth. This narrative sparked a lot of questions, both leading up to school and over the course of my first year. Classmates and friends alike wanted to know why I was taking myself out of a niche job market, with the goal of returning to that same niche in two years. What did I think the MBA would offer me that two more years of real-world, professional experience could not?
When I applied to business school, I primarily viewed it as a long-term play. I aspired (and still do) to have a career in private equity investing, and I saw Booth as a critical way to augment my network and build relationships with the caliber of student that would one day become the entrepreneur I invested in, the partner I invested alongside, or the board member I turned to for know-how, advice, and mentorship. This is what I have told those who asked, and I am still confident this will be the case.
However, this summer, my first year at Booth is paying off in several additional, unexpected ways. When I juxtapose my role this summer and its full-time counterpart with my role prior to school, there are two core differences: people management and deeper strategic thinking.
In the real world, there is no Leadership Effectiveness and Development (“LEAD”) class—no one tells you what kind of leader you naturally are and how to best harness those innate qualities to make yourself an even more effective manager. This summer, I have repeatedly turned to learnings from LEAD in situations at work and felt empowered by their effectiveness. From both soliciting and giving feedback to delegating tasks and better managing my own bandwidth, LEAD has given me a toolbox to make me a more confident and productive employee in ways I did not expect.
I have also seen frameworks from Competitive Strategy and New Venture Strategy come to life in contemplating new investments and add-on acquisitions; the case work and discussions in these and other classes have encouraged me to tackle problems from a few new strategic angles and step outside of the confines of my role as investor, when needed. In short, it has been fun to see the classroom come to life in surprising yet gratifying ways this summer.
The team at Providence has been incredible, encouraging me to expose myself to all facets of a deal, as well as assume a ton of responsibility. A staple of their work environment is group lunches; everyone dines together in order to foster a stronger community, and it is clear that this strategy is paying off, as the culture is collaborative and transparent. I feel lucky to have spent the summer in such a positive, dynamic environment (defying all of the negative stereotypes of stodgy finance firms!).
Outside of my internship, I have soaked up the New England summer with many outdoor adventures and trips to the beach. The incoming second-year Booth community in Boston was also lucky to host Dean Stacey Kole and Associate Dean Julie Morton for dinner in July, and they told us about some of the exciting new initiatives we will see on campus this fall. I am excited to get back to Chicago next month, but the next time you will hear from me, I will be in New Zealand leading a Random Walk for our incoming first-years!