Internship Stories: Aberdeen Standard Investments

By Tim Barlar (QST’20)

CCD: Tell us about your experience. What were your responsibilities?

Over the summer I worked as an Investments intern with Aberdeen Standard Investments (ASI) Private Equity group in Boston. During my time with the firm, I conducted valuations of secondary investments by creating financial models to determine the net asset value of the firm’s current portfolio investments for potential sale to third parties. Also, I conducted due diligence on primary fund commitments, as well as co-investments by reviewing manager’s track records and the performance of their current portfolio companies.

As part of this process, I would meet with general partners of private equity firms to discuss the progress of their investments and consider their funds for inclusion in ASI’s portfolio. I also met with CEOs of companies that were seeking capital from limited partners during co-investments and discussed the firm’s management, growth potential and position within our portfolio.

The findings of the associates and myself were then shared with the Private Equity team in London during weekly Skype meetings, where both the U.S. and U.K. teams were able to discuss available opportunities and coordinate a balanced fund allocation between the two geographies.

I managed the firm’s CRM Salesforce by logging interactions with general partners and CEOs, running reports on the data to compile a list of managers that should be considered for inclusion in a future fund.

Lastly, I had the opportunity to travel to Philadelphia on multiple occasions to collaborate with the wider U.S. based team and performed community service with Cradles to Crayons.

CCD: What was the best thing about the experience? What was the worst?

The best part of my experience was being given the same level of responsibility as full time associates. This gave me the opportunity to learn as much from the position as I wanted to and made me feel like a valued member of the team. I took advantage of this by sharing with the team my interest in and desire to sharpen my financial modeling skills. In response, a member of the team was happy to have me derive a leveraged buyout model and walked me through the steps of how to purchase a company with debt as the primary source of capital.

The only drawback of my time with ASI, is that I did not have much of an opportunity to collaborate with members of other investment teams during my internship, as the private equity team was self sufficient. I made up for this by attending social events that the company put on and reaching out to members of other teams to learn more about their line of work.

CCD: What was the most memorable moment of your experience?

The most memorable part of my experience was when I was asked to help perform diligently on a prospective investment in a harness and safety company. During my time, I listened to phone conversations to learn more about the business with the company’s CEO, as well as, the managers of the private equity fund that held a majority equity stake in the company.

The firm manufactured harnesses and cables that window washers and ship builders used as tethers when working. We determined that the company was doing well and had room to grow. The idea of investing in a company that would use its resources to create products that would inevitably save lives, was a great example of a time where I was able to see first-hand how the work we were performing as Asset Managers had the capability to save real lives and was one of the best parts of my experience.

CCD: What advice would you give to another student about making the most of an internship, job, or other career-related experience?

I would tell another student to talk to and make friends with as many people as they can, as people are your greatest resource. I saw first-hand that most individuals in the industry were familiar with one another and that transactions were far smoother when a member of the team had a connection with someone on the other side of the table.

I also was able to learn a lot from others that I met at the firm and would have missed out on many opportunities if I had not spoken to others. Additionally, as I am now seeking a full-time position, multiple members of the team at ASI that I worked with have reached out and shared with me positions that they have come across and thought that I would be a good fit. This has taken a lot of stress out of the job searching process and has created a great way for me to keep in touch with former colleagues.

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