I interned with ARIA Property Group in Cape Town, South Africa. ARIA is a commercial real estate investment company that focuses on acquiring and redeveloping underperforming assets. My fellow intern and I were tasked with revamping the complex financial models used to value their 20+ commercial properties and the company's debt summary. Since we worked directly with the managing and executive directors, we were given the opportunity to shadow them in important meetings, receive hardhat tours of their new projects, and in the end, get to know them as real people.
HOW DID YOU FIND THE OPPORTUNITY?
I found the opportunity through an organization called GoOversees.com. I was initially very skeptical but became more confident after speaking with a number of the alum on their page who had had internships through GoOversees.com in the past. This opportunity was phenomenal! I jumped out of my comfort zone and traveled to Cape Town to take an investment finance course and intern with ARIA. Everyday, I braved new challenges and encountered many unforgettable experiences, including celebrating Nelson Mandela Day with ARIA and having lunch with the CEO of a publicly traded company!
WHAT HAS YOUR EXPERIENCE BEEN LIKE AND WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED?
My summer internship was very challenging, but also highly rewarding. From this internship, I've acquired various financial modeling, valuation, and Excel skills that are critical for success in my desired career. Whether it be analyzing and constructing Excel formulas that are 15+ lines long, to creating new pages, charts, and visuals to increase the financial model's accuracy and efficiency, I have received many skills that are applicable to my future endeavors.
WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR OTHER STUDENTS?
I would advise other students to look outside of Boston, New York City, or even the United States for an internship. I wanted to study abroad, but also wanted a summer internship, and I believe I found the perfect compromise. Several large companies have an international presence and have offices and internship opportunities all around the world waiting to be capitalized; many of which are paid! Overall, my summer internship in Cape Town allowed me to experience a new culture and work environment, acquire invaluable skills, and expand my network on a global level.