What attracted you to Grant Samuel?
This internship was a really exciting opportunity as it was the first time I’d seen PACE opportunity in Corporate and Capital Advisory. The Macquarie University PACE (Professional and Community Engagement) program offers students the chance to undertake a professional workplace experience alongside their academic studies. The chance to apply for an internship in a highly coveted industry with a well-regarded company is something that I could not turn down. The responsibilities outlined and skills required also attracted me to the program, as they directly aligned with my educational level and previous experience. This internship also presented itself as a great way for university students to learn about the industry and determine whether this is a suitable career path for them. By undertaking the internship, it clarified many questions and helped me to explore the opportunities available within the Corporate Advisory sphere.
Was the internship in line with your expectations?
Despite undertaking internships and PACE programs previously, the Women in Banking Internship program exceeded all expectations. Grant Samuel encouraged me to push past my comfort zone and learn at my maximum capacity. Rather than being the stereotypical intern fetching coffees, I was a valuable member of the team who sat in on client calls, prepared company presentations and had responsibility over project workstreams. The development I experienced during this time exceeded any expectations I held towards undertaking a typical part-time internship.
What were the most rewarding aspects of your role?
Feeling like a valuable member of the team! It is really rewarding as a university student to be involved in a live deal with a team of experienced and interesting bankers. The problem solving sessions and ownership over workstreams made me feel like a meaningful part of the deal teams. This close proximity to seniors and clients facilitates the ultimate learning environment. Ownership over work streams is also very helpful in building your skills.
Describe some of your biggest learnings during the internship experience?
One of my biggest development areas was understanding how to communicate in a busy corporate environment. Time is a crucial resource which must be managed effectively, especially in the fast-paced Corporate Advisory environment. I had to effectively communicate about roadblocks, deadlines and university commitments. This is extremely important when working through multiple tasks with various deal teams. By regularly communicating and checking in, I was able to manage expectations.
Similarly, I learnt about the importance of prioritisation and understanding how to balance competing deadlines. This ties into the communication aspect, but also requires personal responsibility, reliability, and critical thinking. Corporate Advisory revolves around client work, therefore every task seems equally urgent and/or important. Understanding the expected deadline, general timing to complete tasks and follow-on tasks are all factors which helped me better establish an understanding of urgency and workflow.
Best piece of advice you receive from colleagues at Grant Samuel?
The advice which truly transformed my experience was to be proactive. If you are engaging with others, reviewing your work, thinking ahead, and acting upon your own initiative, it places you in the best position to gain the most from the internship experience. By reaching out to others and communicating your interests, it demonstrates your desire to grow and helps you to learn more efficiently. In turn, through this level of engagement and motivation, seniors will recognise your commitment to learning and will help you achieve your goals. If you put in the time and effort, colleagues will be receptive and support you.
Did the internship experience give you a clearer idea of what career you want to pursue?
Absolutely! Undertaking a Commerce and Law degree opened up a variety of doors, yet I found myself drawn to Corporate and Capital Advisory. Studying corporate finance does not equate to the professional banking environment. It is difficult as a university student to have an adequate understanding of the Corporate Advisory world. I am very grateful for the Grant Samuel program, as the professional experience enabled me to recognise my place within the industry and visualise a future within it.
Discuss some of the tasks and responsibilities you were given.
I am very grateful that all work was connected to live deals – giving valuable and relevant experience. Within these deals, my tasks ranged from research, data room management, presentation building and Q&A management. I worked on information memorandums, learned about stakeholder management, navigated data rooms and even learned shortcuts in Excel and PowerPoint. I attended meetings with senior stakeholders externally and was an active part of discussions with my deal teams. The work also extended across multiple sectors, as the team aims to provide interns with a variety of experience.
What advice would you give other women who will undergo the internship program?
This may seem like an intimidating industry, with a limited presence of women, but I can assure you that you will not regret undertaking this program. Grant Samuel is part of the change within industry, encouraging a diverse range of people to pursue their passion in finance and recognising the power of diverse thinking. The colleagues are supportive and encouraging. By entering the industry and pursuing your passions, you are encouraging further women after you to take the leap.
What advice do you have for anybody looking to join Grant Samuel?
Go for it! It is the ultimate learning opportunity and you will enter a leading advisory environment whilst studying at university.