In 2018, Ohio Innovation Fund (OIF) expanded its Student Experience Program through the offering of student internships and shadow experiences. We hosted more than 17 students throughout the year from a variety of universities, such as Kent State University, Ohio State University, Ohio University, Wittenberg University, Kenyon College and Case Western Reserve University.

Evan Berryman is a senior who studies finance and entrepreneurship in the Honors Tutorial College at Ohio University. He will graduate in May 2019.

When did you intern with OIF? What was your position?

I interned with OIF in the summer of 2018 in a rotational program that focused on due diligence, portfolio analysis and internal portfolio consulting. This provided for a wide range of experiences that helped clarify what I’m interested in doing after graduation, and I’m incredibly grateful that I was exposed to such diverse positions.

What did a typical day look like for you as an OIF intern?

I’m not sure there was a typical day at OIF, which is something I appreciated. Most days were comprised of a blend of the project that I was focused on at the time and anything else I was interested in that day. While the latter half of that is broad, OIF is constantly working with portfolio companies, potential portfolio companies and Limited Partners. Interns are able to get involved in these various aspects of the fund to the extent they were interested, and I took full advantage of this. 

How does OIF differ from other companies or organizations at which you’ve worked? 

OIF differs from other organizations I have been involved with in that it provides autonomy and responsibility to employees. Other roles I have had throughout my career have required me to follow relatively strict structure in reporting, but OIF encouraged me to think creatively to produce reports and solve problems.

What experiences have you had in classes, clubs or other internships that prepared you for this position? 

I think that nearly all of my time in college prepared me for OIF; the organization that prepared me the most is the Fixed Income Management Group, which assisted me greatly in industry, company and portfolio analysis.

What was the biggest lesson you learned while interning with OIF? 

While at OIF, I was able to better understand how little I currently know about a variety of industries. To me, one of the appealing aspects of venture capital is that you’re exposed to so many different types of ideas and industries. This put into perspective that I have much to learn before I am capable of analyzing these potential ideas without massive amounts of due diligence. I look forward to the challenge.

What advice would you give to students hoping to land an internship in venture capital or at a startup company? 

My advice to students looking to break into the industry is rather broad, but has worked for me tremendously. Immerse yourself fully in the industry, and have a bias for action. Eventually things will happen. However, it is a slow process that requires intense networking, acute knowledge and hard work. And all of this for high risk, high reward exit opportunities. So I find it important to evaluate if that is something with which you not only feel comfortable, but also seek.