1. What did a typical day look like for you as an OIF intern?
A great thing about working at OIF was that there was no such thing as a typical day. Every day was an opportunity to learn something new. We did have a few long term projects, such as completing due diligence on potential portfolio companies. Our due diligence assignments served as a great learning experience for all of the interns to better understand the factors that should be in place for a venture-backed startup to succeed. Due diligence was fairly routine; however, many of our projects were not known until the day of and affected the operations of our current partner companies. Being able to have the flexibility to be creative with your work and be trusted with projects that had a meaningful impact was incredible.
Days at OIF also provided opportunities besides just work. For example, I had the chance to spend time in the Aware office learning from their talented and innovative sales team. The team gave me hours of their time to ask questions about life in a startup culture and even invited me to sit in on a sales call!
2. How has OIF differed from other companies at which you’ve worked?
Last summer, I worked on Capitol Hill as a Congressional Intern and the experiences between these two summers could not be more different. Although working in government was meaningful and exciting, there was much less freedom in my work than I experienced at OIF. In this new role, I have the opportunity to be creative in how I complete my assignments and do work that matters. The fun thing about VC is that there is never an absolute right answer. Thanks to this, I have been able to challenge myself by thinking critically about the odds of success and evaluations of potential partners of the OIF.
3. What experiences have you had in classes, clubs or other internships that prepared you for this position?
One experience that helped prepare me for this summer is the time that I have spent serving on Ohio University’s Board of Trustees as a Student Trustee. As a board member, I was exposed to the complexities of the university’s financial statements and how to evaluate opportunities for growth and expansion. Those experiences proved to be invaluable to me this summer as an OIF intern.
Another experience that helped prepare me for this summer was being the president of the Alpha Kappa Psi Business Fraternity at Ohio University. I think that leading a college organization has been a great introduction to the complexities involved in smaller startup-type organizations. The experience has given me the opportunity to work with a group of like-minded people who are passionate about accomplishing our team’s mission.
4. What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned since starting at OIF?
My biggest takeaway from this summer at OIF is that the only way to truly become the best you can be is through experience. In the world of venture capital and startups, you have to always be learning. There will be unexpected problems that new companies always face, so VCs and team members must be able to adapt quickly. Every new venture comes with its own unique challenges and taking chances is the only way to grow beyond what you are today.
It has been invaluable to watch how Bill and Jill lead and think through problems. They have the experience to think critically on high-level issues and stay calm during hard times. Seeing how much they understand about venture capital and their ability to overcome the various challenges faced in a normal day has been inspiring to me.
5. What is one piece of advice you would give to students hoping to land an internship in venture capital or at a startup company?
My best advice is to be open with others about the goals you have for your life. I have been shocked by the number of people that are willing to go out of their way to help me reach goals that are important to me. If landing an internship in venture capital or in a startup is your goal, tell everyone you can and ask for help. You never know who might be the person to give you the boost you needed for your journey.