Q: Can you tell me a bit about yourself, your background, and how you became interested in the investment management industry?
A: Sure, so my name is Min. I’m currently a rising junior at Carnegie Mellon University, majoring in Business administration with a concentration in finance and a minor in quantitative economics. I think my freshman year being all remote and everything done on zoom, I didn’t really have a chance to explore what I wanted to get into and do. In my sophomore year, I arrived on campus and got an opportunity to talk to a lot of people. I felt like finance was the right fit for me because I always wanted to do something that involved quantitative aspects, but also not to an extreme degree where I was just dealing with numbers the whole day. I wanted to find a subject that balanced logic and understanding with number-crunching, so finance was the way to go.
Q: How did you hear about GTE, and why did you want to work at GTE?
A: Obviously, with finance majors, landing internships and jobs is a big concern. You want to get experience, and you want to get exposed to different settings. The way I heard about GTE was through a past intern named David Usewick, who just graduated and is going to Morgan Stanley this year. At the time, I didn’t know anything about the industry. Going into the interview, I had the mentality that I was going to work hard and whatever task they gave me, which I communicated to the partners at the fund. Luckily, I got the position.
Q: Talk to me about your time at GTE?
A: When I began working, I did a lot of company screening. We had a long list of companies at various stages in the search process that we deal-sourced for our operator-in-residence (OIR). When we weren’t working on outreach, we learned about financial modeling and were given resources to succeed in whatever field we wished to pursue in the future. I was impressed by the caliber of individuals that went through the GTE internship program and later found success in the investment management industry. Being able to talk to GTE alumni really helped me in terms of career development and such, and I would’ve missed this opportunity had I not done the internship.
Q: Tell me more about the people at GTE?
A: The community at GTE was relatively small, which I liked because it felt more tight knit and there wasn’t any corporate bureaucracy to deal with. I was really impressed with the caliber of the people at the helm of the company. Whenever we were analyzing deals and I was confused about a part of the deal, I felt like it was very easy for me to go up to an executive and always receive a great and informative answer.
Q: What makes GTE special?
A: GTE was also special for me because it was my first internship in a professional finance related workplace, so I really appreciate the firm for giving me experience that then led to future opportunities. GTE taught me about the importance of choosing a great culture. I believe people who are chosen by GTE to be private equity analysts are highly motivated individuals, but they are also nice people who are fun to be around. I never dreaded going to work during my time at GTE, and I think that says a lot about the firm’s culture.
Q: Can you give some advice to current and future interns?
A: Try to be useful. With any internship or job, it is always possible to do the bare minimum and avoid being in the spotlight. You want to do the opposite. Employers love interns who go above and beyond. They want people to care about the current deals they are doing. They want you to ask questions and be curious.
Another piece of advice is to spend your time wisely. Yes, it is important to have fun with your friends (and obviously I had a great time at GTE), but you can have a great time while also getting a lot of work done. If you don’t plan on staying in the search fund space, you can still find a lot of tasks that parallel what you want to do in the future. Lastly, I would say structure your questions wisely. Don’t just say “is there anything I can help you with?” Instead, say something like “I saw that you were planning on reaching out to this person or acquiring xyz company, and I would love to learn more about this space, so I was wondering if I could be a part of this project?” If you are curious and proactive, you will make a great intern.
Q: As you know, GTE’s business model is to essentially bet on aspiring entrepreneurs. Has working at GTE changed your views on entrepreneurship and would you consider pursuing an entrepreneurial path in the future?
A: The truth is I don’t know. I’m doing investment banking at Lazard my junior summer, so that’s the field in which I’m starting my career. Entrepreneurship is very hard, and I have a lot of respect for people who go down that path. Perhaps at some point down the road, I’ll give it a shot, but I’m not actively pursuing or thinking about entrepreneurship at the moment.