Getting started at a Private Equity Firm in Milan

~ENGLISH~ 

Hello! I’m Natasha, a rising Junior majoring in International Business & Management with minors in Italian and Economics, and this summer I am interning at L Catterton as a Business Analyst intern. L Catterton is a private equity firm, and the world’s leading consumer growth investor. They are head quartered in Greenwich, CT., however I am working out of their Milan office, using my Italian that I have learnt over the last two years at Dickinson. My main goal of the internship is to see what exactly it is that a Private Equity firm does, and whether it might be an industry that I could be interested in being a part of after graduation.

The Duomo of Milan. The largest church in Italy, it took nearly six centuries to complete!

I found this internship through Professor Lanzilotta in the Italian department. He contacted me about the possibility of an internship in Milan as he was already in contact with the business and asked if I would be interested. As an INBM major the private equity industry was one that had piqued my interest as I was curious to discover how they decided who to invest such large sums of money into. I did an internship with a management consulting firm (Q5 Partners) in London last summer and I wanted to build on the skills I had learnt there, and this seemed like a good chance to do so. And then, the extra bonus of living in Milan for two months meant that this was an opportunity that I could not say no to!

The week before my internship officially started, I had to come to Milan for the day to do paperwork. What is Italy if not bureaucratic?! I spent most my day split between the Unemployment Centre and an Employment Agency, but near the end of the day before heading back to the airport there was time for a quick recce and visit the office. The L Catterton office is located in the centre of town, a five-minute walk from the Duomo, and if possible, simply the fancy exterior made me more excited for what was to come!

Located a minute walk from the office ‘San Bernardino alle Ossa’
is a church built in 1210 after the adjacent cemetery ran out of space

Since starting my internship, I have done different pieces of work. I started off by doing research in the honey market in Italy and Europe, and some of the main players. As part of this I had to analyse their annual reports and complete calculations in order to find their total sales (Italy and Abroad), CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate), EBITDA (Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization), and NFP (non-financial position). I might add that this is a tad more difficult when it’s all in Italian! All this research was then compiled into a PowerPoint Deck; an interesting task as not only did I learn a huge amount about the honey industry, by compiling these financials it allowed me to compare firms against each other and see which ones are doing better than others, and why this may be.

I am also learning how to do this  aperitif ‘thing’ properly!

Another piece of work I have done is a deep dive into the competitors of a business that L Catterton already owns. Once again, I looked at the financials, and also investigated what key milestones they had hit in the last year. Looking at competition is a way for companies to look at their success (or failures) from a relative standpoint and can influence future decision making. Being able to see this and map it out on a deck was super interesting.

A third assignment I have had was to summerise the information L Catterton received from a Financial Advisory firm about a company that was for sale and which L Catterton were being invited to bid for. This included: Information about the company, its operations and their key financials, the market as a whole and where the company falls in the market.

And an after lunch espresso

This is all succinctly expressed in one page along with an Investment Thesis and Initial Key Concerns. It is based off this initial information that Private Equity firms decide whether or not they will move forward in the bidding process. Being allowed the opportunity to delve through the information and selecting key snippets of information was a rewarding process and allowed me to see what exactly it is that a PE firm will look when deciding if they want to invest.

One of the two canals I walk by in Navigli

For me, the hardest part of my internship so far has not been the work, but rather the reality of working life. Doing the same thing every day. Wake up. Go to work. Leave work. Make dinner. Go to bed. Whilst certainly over simplified the routine is different to university life where you have different classes, work shifts and clubs daily, and you are surrounded my so many different people. In trying to tackle this, whilst simultaneously aware that I do not really have a choice regarding the majority of routine, I am making sure that I am constantly changing it up a little bit, for example doing a bit of sightseeing or walking a different route home are ways that so far I have been able to make my routine a little less samey.

The Modena Duomo taking centre stage

Overall, I have been enjoying Milan (and Modena, a beautiful town east of Milan that I visited on the weekend) and am also enjoying the work I have been doing for the past two weeks. I certainly feel as though I am getting some knowledge in understanding the inner workings of a Private Equity firm, and am interested in seeing what comes next…

 

~ITALIANO~

Ciao! Sono Natasha e ho finito il mio secondo anno di università. Studio International Business & Management con Italiano e Economia, e quest’estate farò un tirocinio da L Catterton come stagista di Business Analyst. L Catterton è una società di private equity. Il loro quartier generale è a Greenwich, CT., ma sto lavorando nel loro ufficio di Milano, usando il mio italiano che ho imparato negli ultimi due anni a Dickinson. L’obiettivo principale dello stage è vedere se sono interessata al Private Equity dopo la laurea.

Il Professor Lanzilotta del dipartimento italiano mi ha contattato per dirmi di questa opportunità. Ero curiosa a riguardo del Private Equity, e di avere questa opportunità a Milano – potevo dire di no?!

La settimana prima di iniziare il mio stage ho visitato Milano per completare le pratiche burocratiche. Che cos’è l’Italia se non burocratica?! Sono andata all’ufficio di disoccupazione e all’agenzia di collocamento. Alla fine della giornata ho visitato l’ufficio, a cinque minuti a piedi dal Duomo. Mi stavo emozionando!

Da quando ho iniziato il mio stage, ho fatto diversi lavori. Ho iniziato facendo ricerche nel mercato del miele in Italia e in Europa, e alcuni delle principali attività. Ho analizzato i loro rapporti annuali e ho calcolato le loro vendite totali (Italia ed Estero), CAGR, EBITDA e NFP. Ho scoperto che questo è più difficile in italiano! Questa ricerca è stata compilata in un PowerPoint. Da questo compito ho imparato a conoscere il mercato del miele e ho potuto confrontare le aziende.

Un altro lavoro che ho fatto è un’analisi approfondita dei concorrenti di un’azienda che L Catterton possiede. Di nuovo, ho analizzato i dati finanziari e ho anche studiato i traguardi delle imprese. Guardare alla concorrenza è un modo per le aziende di guardare al loro successo (o ai loro fallimenti) da un punto di vista relativo e può influenzare il processo decisionale futuro. Essere in grado di vedere questo e mapparlo è stato molto interessante.

Un terzo incarico che ho avuto è stato quello di riassumere le informazioni che L Catterton ha ricevuto da una società di consulenza finanziaria su un’azienda che era in vendita dove L Catterton era stata invitata a fare un’offerta. Questo incluso: informazioni sulla società, le sue operazioni, e i suoi finanziari principali, il mercato nel suo complesso, e il luogo di l’azienda in questo mercato. Questo è sinteticamente espresso in una pagina insieme a una tesi di investimento e preoccupazioni chiave iniziali. Da questa informazione le società di Private Equity decidono se vogliono fare un investimento. Ho trovato il processo di fare questo molto gratificante nella comprensione del settore di private equity.

Per me, la parte più difficile del mio tirocinio finora non è stata il lavoro, ma piuttosto la realità della vita lavorativa. Fare la stessa cosa ogni giorno. Svegliarsi. Andare a lavorare. Lasciare il lavoro. Preparare la cena. Andare a letto. Benché sicuramente semplificata, la routine è diversa dalla vita universitaria in cui ogni giorno hai lezioni, turni di lavoro e club diversi, e sei circondato da cosi tante persone diverse. Pertanto, sto provando a fare diverse attività ogni giorno, per esempio giro turistico o camminando su un percorso diverso.

Nel complesso, mi sono divertita a Milano (e Modena, una bella città a sud est di Milano che ho visitato nel weekend) e mi sto anche godendo il lavoro che ho fatto nelle ultime due settimane. Sicuramente mi sento come se avessi una certa conoscenza di una società di Private Equity, e sono interessato a vedere cosa verrà dopo…

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