Written by Sean Vanderslice; iXperience'17
Interning at Brookwood Capital was a great, new opportunity to learn more about the finance world. Up until the beginning of my internship, all of my work and education about finance had been purely theoretical, with minimal or no exposure at all to real accountability. Researching actual investment opportunities has been very interesting! In my first week we focused mainly on researching the real estate market in the Western Cape of South Africa and forming opinions based on individual regions. When you looked at the market as a whole, there were so many different places and opportunities to examine, that it seemed at first as if there would be no way to form the best opinion. My partner, Charlotte, and I took the process step by step starting from a top down approach and were able to provide great research and insight into the market. The project given to us was presented in a very hands off manner, where we were given free reign to do the best work possible. We learned extremely valuable skills in setting goals and accomplishing tasks at our own pace while handling lots of responsibility.
The last week was valuable in moving towards our end goal of being able to pitch about 10 properties in two weeks time. Having a data collection on revenues provided by Airbnb proved to be very helpful in evaluating different areas and the type of cash flow you would count on from properties within various areas.
From an extracurricular standpoint, 4th of July in Cape Town was awesome! A group of us went skydiving and rented out a bar in the middle of the city. We attended an epic South African art event known as First Thursdays and went to a live Rugby match. I really enjoyed Cape Town and the thought of leaving made me sad.
Week 3 of our internship was probably the most tangible progress that we've experienced. We reached out to brokers and set up property viewings where we pitched our investment ideas to the partners. We got to travel to a small town, Strand, where we checked out multiple beach front properties. At first we were uneasy and unsure what to look for or how brokers would react to 20 year olds pitching to them, but we learned from our experiences and in return brokers took us seriously.
I worked extremely hard during my internship, doing a solid amount of research to present during my final installment, when my amazing time in Cape Town came to an end. My group presented potential investments around the Western Cape that would have the best value over the next twenty years. We finally presented our work to the partners who were extremely impressed with what we were able to accomplish and would be able to speak on our behalf about the work we had done.
As I flew home from South Africa, I could happily reflect back on my time and the things I learned in just 8 weeks. It is without question that I got a real and valuable experience into what it is like working at an investment firm. My final project delivered me with invaluable research and analytical skills I’ll be able to use for the entirety of my career. I’m so glad I was given the opportunity to grow!