Internship at Cafa Corporate Finance

CanvasThis semester I have had the pleasure of interning for Cafa Corporate Finance, which is a private investment banking firm. Cafa specializes in mergers and acquisitions, corporate financing, and restructuring. It seems like a mouthful and that it encompasses a lot. And it does! Cafa works with a multitude of clients in a multitude of industries. One would also think this is a large firm, however there are only five employees. Everyone has made me feel welcomed from my very first day and are enthusiastic in helping my education. I’m not the stereotypical image of an intern- I never have administrative work to do. Because I’m not stuck in the copy room, I am able to assist in meaningful ways to both the company and my own education.

Although I’ve accomplished a few different tasks, I usually conduct research. In general, I quite enjoy the research process for projects and papers. For course work, a quick Google search usually provides you with enough information for each particular aspect of the paper. Although that paper has the purpose of educating yourself either on the research process itself, or on a particular subject, there is no further application of the information collected. At Cafa, my research is being used to make real-world decisions. At first it was intimidating that millionaires and billionaires would be basing some of their decisions on some facts and figures I had uncovered. But I soon learned where to find the data needed and what exactly were the important figures to include. A quick Google search doesn’t cut it here. One day I was able to access a market report through the online databases available to us through the Champlain Library which the employee I was working with was not able to locate.

I have learned so much at this internship. With their strict open door policy, I could turn to anyone to ask for assistance or further information. One of the owners even hosted an informal information session for another employee and I on financial statements. Although I have learned about these statements in classroom settings before, this was a more applied approach. He kept telling us to “think in terms of Excel,” as that’s where these statements are created. Sure, I can know what accounts go where on paper, but he offered tips on where to look when things don’t balance as there could just be a mistake of how you’ve linked the cells. A combination of the small firm and open door policy has also allowed me to get to know everyone on a more personal level. It’s been interesting learning about the Canadian culture through them. As a conversation inevitably ended up about hockey, we got to talking about other sports. Being from Massachusetts, the Red Sox came up and one guy exclaimed, “you don’t find baseball boring?!”

Internships are always learning experiences. You’re able to take what you’ve learned in the classroom and see it applied and used in daily life. Not only are you learning how to do a particular job or task, you’re also learning how to operate in an office environment. Any field of study can benefit from a internship and even more so, one abroad! Today’s world is becoming increasingly globalized and it’s important to see business outside of an American perspective. So, even if an internship isn’t on your curriculum for the semester you’re studying abroad, I highly recommend talking to your academic or study abroad adviser about fitting one in. You won’t regret it!

– Shelby Adams, International Business, Official Blogger, Fall 2013