Summer Internship | Student Spotlight: Ziyaad A Khayrattee – J.P.Morgan

Company: J.P. MorganDSC_6334
Position: Corporate Finance Advisory Intern

Was there any one experience that stood out to you?

Brexit. Walking into the office the morning after the vote was incredibly chaotic. Nobody knew how far the market would plunge, nobody could foresee the political or social consequences, and quite frankly, we were all confused. Since I had a previous working background and interest in politics, I was put on a team to help research the corporate finance impacts of Brexit. When it was all said and done, the firm published our research in a white paper which is available online. While I cannot claim to be a Brexit expert by any means, being in a financial environment during such a historic series of events is something I learned a lot from and will definitely remember going forward.

Is there anything you learned during this internship that you don’t think you could’ve learned in a classroom setting?

The classroom can’t always simulate certain environments in the real world. You can’t exactly simulate the long work weeks, difficult personalities to work with, or multiple deadlines to meet in a span of just a few hours. On the flip side, you can’t simulate the excitement of being on the phone with CFO’s, board members, and people who have worked in the bank longer than we have been alive. There were moments when I was praying I wouldn’t embarrass myself (half the time I did), and I have never felt those emotions in a classroom setting. While you might not learn how to deal with these situations now, UT definitely exposes you to best practices that can help you for when those moments arise, all within the comfort of the Forty Acres. Take advantage of the environment we have around us!

What did you learn about yourself that you didn’t know before?

Throughout the summer, the deeper into finance I got, the more I found myself visiting parks and museums in my free time. While New York City is the financial capital of the world, it simultaneously provides the perfect mental escape. I could spend hours at the MoMA or the Cooper Hewitt and expand my interests in fashion, art, and photography. I never realized how closely I held on to my liberal arts education, and I plan to do so regardless of my career moving forward.

What advice do you have for other students who are recruiting for internships?

Be as genuine and transparent as you can during recruitment processes. At the end of the day, many recruiters want to connect with you on a personal level just as much they want to on a professional one. They have been in the industry long enough to identify what is genuine versus what is a facade. So if an interviewer asks you about your weakness, tell them exactly what you believe it is. No sugar coating, no following the weakness up with a subliminal strength either. Just be candid, and recruiters will appreciate that.

Summer Internship | Student Spotlight: Mariette Peltier – Office of the Attorney General

marietteCompany: Texas Office of the Attorney General
Position: Human Trafficking and Transnational Organized Crime (HTTOC) Section

Why did you decide to work at the Attorney General’s office?

By the fall of my junior year, I had decided that I was going to attend law school after graduation, with the intent of becoming a prosecutor. Since high school, I’ve been passionate about ending human trafficking, and in college, I’ve held leadership roles and participated in community organizations to this end. All that to say that I was looking for an internship at a government agency that was willing to take on an undergraduate student who was interested in practicing criminal law. If that internship was related to human trafficking, even better!

Ultimately, my decision to accept the OAG’s offer was a result of its specificity and its Austin location. At the OAG, I would be working within the Human Trafficking and Transnational Organized Crime Section, an area that was directly related to my passion; at the district attorney’s office, I would be placed in a particular section and then rotated through several other areas throughout the summer. At the end of the day, I believe that God led me to the place that he wanted me this summer, and I couldn’t be happier with the outcome!

Was there any one experience that stood out to you?

During the last week of my internship, one of the Assistant Attorney Generals in my section assisted in the prosecution of the first sex trafficking case in Corpus Christi. During the week-long trial, she was responsible for jury selection, the direct examination of the victim, the cross examination of the defendant, and the prosecution’s closing argument among a multitude of other tasks. Because I hope to become a sex crimes prosecutor after earning a law degree, observing an attorney that I admire and respect in the courtroom was an inspiring experience that I will never forget. My favorite part of the trial was the morning of voir dire (jury selection) – the process is a lot more exciting when you’re not the one being called for jury duty! On the last day of my internship, the jury convicted the defendant of Continuous Trafficking of Persons and sentenced him to 40 years in prison; this conviction was a tangible manifestation of the often-thankless time and effort that the attorneys expend to seek justice and was an encouraging way to end my time at the OAG.

What advice would you give to anyone wanting to work in a similar industry?

Apply for positions that interest you even if you might not meet the qualifications for them. I applied to several internships that preferred graduate or law students, but I was interested in the agencies and felt that I met enough of the technical qualifications to apply. At a minimum, you put yourself on an agency’s radar screen for future opportunities, and you gain experience in interviewing. In the best case scenario, someone reading your application may decide to take a chance on you, and you could end up in an office working for people who have the career you aspire to. It happened to me!

Did the internship meet or supersede your expectations? How?

This internship definitely superseded my expectations, and I credit a large part of that to the attorneys that I was privileged to work for. As an undergraduate, I expected there to be a lot of tasks that I wasn’t qualified to complete, but my supervisors always found something meaningful for me to do and made me feel as though my work was valued. As the summer progressed, they trusted me with more responsibility, and as a result, I worked on tasks that I wouldn’t have expected to be trusted to perform until I entered law school.

I also didn’t expect to experience as much as I did during my time at the office. During my first week, one of the attorneys told me that she wanted me to have a weekly out-of-office learning experience. Because she was invested in my personal development as well as in the work that I could perform for her, I was able to hear oral arguments at the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, attend a pre-trial hearing for a murder case, watch a Congressional hearing, observe parts of an aggravated burglary trial, and my boss’s entire sex trafficking trial. Having an internship where your supervisors care about your personal development beyond the value that you bring to the office can make or break an experience. This internship did more than simply supersede my expectations – it confirmed my dream of attending law school to seek justice in cases like these.

Summer Internship | Student Spotlight: Jack Butler – St. Cloud Capital

CompanySt. Cloud Capital
Position: Analyst InternJack Butler

What were your overall responsibilities in your internship?

As St. Cloud was (and currently is) deploying capital from its third fund, I was primarily tasked with researching potential investments in the pipeline to help with the deal screening process.  That meant starting off with initial research on pitch decks and pro forma financials we received from management teams to decide which of those deals matched up with St. Cloud’s investment strategy.  I then did much more in-depth research on the few deals we signed up with letters of intent (LOIs) – building out cases and stress-testing the sensitivity of our debt to important assumptions like customer churn, mapping out competitors, and looking at precedent transactions to try to determine how we should price our warrants.  Since I was the only intern in the office, I also did all sorts of odd jobs to help out the partners and free up their time to go out and source more deals.

What is unique about the company and culture of St. Cloud Capital?

St. Cloud was, in my opinion, the perfect company environment.  The team was made up of people from a variety of different prestigious backgrounds – investment banking, distressed credit and special situations, fundamental equity, etc.  They were also all friendly and had an open-door policy, and would take time during the day to answer whatever questions I had.  Some of my questions pertained to the projects I was working on, but there were plenty of times where the professionals there were more than happy to give me their high-level thoughts on the markets, discuss stock picks, and help me out with recruiting advice.

What is your biggest takeaway from this internship?

Getting to tap into the experience of people who’ve been investing in public and private markets for many years was the best part of my time at St. Cloud.  Excel-monkey stuff is important, but it’s also fairly easily self-taught and/or drilled into you when you start working. The important stuff is the perspective you get from working with people who know how to look at deals, from sitting in on meetings with management teams and learning what questions to ask, and from learning the “why” behind what you’re working on and how it supports the investment process.

Did the internship meet or supersede your expectations? How?

St. Cloud invests in lower middle market companies (annual revenue generally between $10 million and $150 million) across all sectors, typically with a combination of debt and equity.  The breadth of this generalist strategy allowed me to pivot across multiple industries every few days and learn about business models I never knew existed.  It also gave me insights on how to assess a wide variety of transaction structures.  I was included on all of the management meetings and diligence calls for deals I worked on, and even got to meet with teams on site.  The whole experience was highly collaborative, and I always had interesting work to do.   I couldn’t have asked for a better summer internship.

What advice would you give to anyone wanting to work in a similar industry?

You should always understand why you’re working on something and how it relates to the big picture.  You should choose a firm where the learning curve is steep, where the people who work above you care about your development, and where you enjoy talking to the people you work with about things other than work.  And you should always ask questions.

BHP Alums Find Success as Plastic Surgeons

Each year, a few BHP grads go on to medical school, but it certainly isn’t the usual path for most BHP grads. Even fewer choose to go into plastic surgery like Sergio Alvarez, BHP ’03, and Sean Paul, BHP ’05. Alvarez owns a practice in Miami and is recognized as the top plastic surgeon in the area. Paul recently moved back to Austin to open a practice, which has  multiple offices across the city.

BHP: What led you to choose medicine and plastic surgery as your specialty?

Sergio Alvarez operates his own practice, Alvarez Plastic Surgery, in Miami.

Sergio Alvarez operates his own practice, Alvarez Plastic Surgery, in Miami.

Alvarez: After seeing my first open heart surgery at the age of 10, I knew then that there was nothing else I wanted to do than to be a surgeon.  Plastic surgery got my attention during medical school due to the fact that it was not only the most competitive specialty to get into and the surgeons training me were revered as “the best”, but it was the ability to work on every part of the body and really focus on the “art form” that captured me. It was the finesse that it required that captivated me.

Paul: My father was my inspiration. He was a family medicine physician in south Texas and had an amazing relationship with his patients. My love for surgery developed during my gross anatomy classes in medical school, but mostly from caring for wounded soldiers returning to Brooke Army Medical Center, for whom I assisted in caring for severe facial and ocular burns. Thus began my love for ophthalmology and facial plastic surgery, and a career in oculofacial plastic surgery began.

BHP: How has your background in business been helpful to you in your practice?

Alvarez: There is no question that the business education I received through the Business Honors Program has been invaluable. I think the biggest challenges physicians face today are the intricacies of opening up a practice. That was something that didn’t scare me at all. I came to Miami which is THE most competitive market for aesthetic plastic surgery with all the business tools I needed to succeed.  I plan to set up an office in Austin soon!

Sean Paul operates his own practice, Austin Oculofacial Plastics.

Sean Paul operates his own practice, Austin Oculofacial Plastics.

Paul: As a BHP alum, I completed internships and worked in operations in my family business prior to attending medical school. After ten years of medical school, a post-graduate residency, and a fellowship, I was faced with a life decision when choosing my career path after training. My background in business and my entrepreneurial spirit gave me a unique insight into the changing landscape of medicine and helped me choose to start my own practice. More specifically, my insight into the patient and business aspects of reconstructive and elective plastic surgery has helped me build a practice to help fill a need in the growing Central Texas and Austin communities. I now own and operate my own practice, Austin Oculofacial Plastics, based in Austin. I have offices in south Austin, north Austin, Westlake, Lakeway, New Braunfels, and Fredericksburg.

BHP: What is most challenging and most rewarding about your career as a plastic surgeon?

Alvarez: I think the most rewarding aspect of my career are the people I get to meet and treat from all over the world. Being in such an international city gives me the opportunity to learn about different cultures and different definitions of beauty. I think one of the biggest challenges we face are the misconceptions people see on TV and marketing gimmicks that are all over social media and the internet. A large portion of what we do as a collective group is educate our patients about how to go beyond the marketing and choose tried and true methods as well as choose qualified practitioners that are board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.

Paul: The most challenging part of my career is continually striving to focus on excellent patient care. With the commercialization of plastic surgery, I strive to maintain a down-to-earth relationship with patients and make a point to call them at night after surgery. As I have gotten busier, I remain committed to that tenet of care for my patients.  I genuinely find it rewarding when patients simply say ‘thank you’.  As medicine and plastic surgery continues to change, you frequently hear stories of patients feeling like they are just a number on a spreadsheet. I personally have found complete comfort in feeling fully invested in my practice. My patients’ kind words and feedback are the best possible reward. I truly love what I do and it is my pleasure to care for each and every one of my patients.

BHP: What advice do you have for current BHP students who may be interested in pursuing an MD?

Alvarez: The best advice I can give BHP students interested in medicine is to stay dedicated to the long path it takes to become a physician because the rewards are well worth the wait. As they see their colleagues start entering the corporate world and get high salary positions, they should realize there is little to substitute the feeling one gets from changing peoples’ lives on a daily basis.

Paul: Explore the medical and surgical field early on and be certain that it is the career path you want more than anything else in the world. You will be faced with personal and professional decisions and be pulled in multiple directions in your career as a physician. No matter what else is going on in your day or in the world, when you are in the operating room with that patient, you owe them your 100% undivided attention.  Talk with physicians in your community about shadowing opportunities and be proactive in your career research. Study hard, enjoy your life as a BHP student, soak up the amazing city of Austin (so happy I am back), and understand that if you choose the field of medicine – you will be one of the few professionals given the privilege of caring for others for a living. I could not imagine doing anything else.

Alumni Spotlight: Haley Robison, CEO of KAMMOK – Class of 2007

HaleyHaley Robison, BHP 2007, is CEO for KAMMOK, an Austin-based company providing quality outdoor gear and apparel to the socially-conscious adventurer. She has quite a diverse background from consulting with Bain & Co. to leading backpacking expeditions. Haley will be leading a Career Design session for BHP students in the fall to help them assess their priorities and apply design thinking towards career exploration.

You have had quite an interesting path since graduating. Take us through your career path.

I joined Bain & Co. after graduation and worked there for a little more than three years. I took advantage of the externship program there and moved to San Francisco for six months to help Summer Search build a strategic partnership plan. I left Bain in 2010 to pursue my interest in outdoor education. I signed up for a wilderness course through the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS). Through that program, I lived outside from February to May in 2011 in Wyoming and Utah.

After that, I decided to pursue a year-long theology program, the Trinity Forum Academy to explore the big “why” questions. I was trying to figure out who I was and find my calling. As part of my fellowship, I wrote a thesis exploring human experience in nature.  During that time, I applied to the Stanford Graduate School and was accepted. Before starting at Stanford, I spent the summer working for a company called Solid Rock leading extended backpacking trips for high school girls. In the fall I went to Stanford and was there for two-and-a-half years completing joint master’s degrees in business and education. I worked at IDEO for the summer of 2013 as an organization designer. After graduation, I stayed on with Stanford in their Design School to design curriculum.

From there, I met an investor for KAMMOK, by chance, in Palo Alto and got connected to the founder of KAMMOK, which is where I am now. I have had this incredible opportunity to help them scale, and to combine all of my interests, passions, and skills in design and outdoors.

Did you have a path in mind for yourself or were you just open to opportunities as they came about?

I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do after graduating. Like many students in that situation, I thought consulting would be a great way to figure that out. I just kept saying yes and pursuing doors that opened and seemed interesting to me. I have had a non-linear path, but looking back it is easy to connect the dots. It didn’t feel that way at the time though. I didn’t have a path in mind. I would have never thought I would run an outdoor apparel company when I was 30, but it now makes sense to me that I would have ended up where I am given what I care about and am interested in. I also never thought I would want to work for a product company, but KAMMOK has been an exciting opportunity. I am able to explore how product companies have an impact in the world and serve as catalysts for some of our most impactful experiences. It has been interesting exploring how to design and sell products around people and experiences.

Your LinkedIn profile title says “outdoor and design enthusiast.” Talk about your passion for both of these areas and how they are a part of your current role.

I have had some pretty transformative experiences in the outdoors, both individually and with other people as part of a community. Experiences in the outdoors can really shape our character, our understanding of who we are as individuals, and our understanding of the world around us. I really love designing experiences through the lens of people and learning objectives. I enjoy figuring out what the experience is that would unlock insights and learning for people.

In our industry there is a huge trend towards urbanization. Outdoor brands are having to ask a lot of interesting questions around how we encourage people to experience the outdoors from where they are. The products we create need to be able to transition with you from the backyard to the back country, and need to have utility in a city and beyond. As we think about expanding our mission to get people outdoors and expanding our products, the first questions we ask are who we are designing for, what do they need, and what does their life look like. Through that lens, I get to be a designer every day.

You participated in and also led intense outdoor expeditions. What can be learned in those programs?

I saw incredible life change in the high school girls I led on backpacking expeditions. If you string up a hammock in your backyard and look up, you have a different perspective. This perspective change can ground us. We live in a hyper-connected world and there is something about disconnecting and reconnecting with a sense of just being and feeling all the elements that is very refreshing. It is also challenging at times. You have to think practically and creatively to deal with outdoor challenges. Learning how to do that is applicable in everyday life. You also learn you have more in you than you realize when you are challenged by things that are unknown or intimidate you. A lot of times in the outdoors we face those challenges, whether physically, spiritually or emotionally, and conquering those can boost your confidence. I also think conservation and recreation are tied. We are realizing the impact we have on our environment and we need to be good stewards of our environment. To care for something, you have to love it and know it, so spending time outdoors can help us cultivate a sense of responsibility and stewardship for our environment.

How did the Career Design project at Stanford come about for you?

I spent a lot of time at the Design School at Stanford developing curriculum. They were looking to hire a curriculum designer to redesign their career offerings for incoming MBA students. I jumped at the opportunity and I got to help shape what that looked like. We built a series of six workshops based on student input. The goal was to equip students with a toolkit for exploring careers effectively and to teach them how keep a strong sense of self during their time in the program, so they didn’t fall into herd mentality. We also equipped them with the tools for taking action, so they could try out areas of interest and make progress towards their goals.

What are KAMMOK’s growth goals right now and what are you focused on as the new CEO.

We more than doubled revenue in 2015, rolled out nationally to all REI stores, and increased our online business significantly. Our growth goals are to continue to grow a profitable omni-channel business, to continue to deepen our core accounts, and to build a robust offering on KAMMOK.com. Our mission is to equip and inspire life-changing adventure. We want to continue to build our brand story and invite people into a lifestyle of adventure. Right now we are a product company, but we want to add experiences. Our focus for now though is to figure out what the best products are to amplify our mission. We are defining technical outdoor for the urban millennial and thinking about the best products. We also want to create a fantastic digital experience for our customers on KAMMOK.com. Financially we are hoping to have double-digit revenue growth again this year. A big thing on the horizon is that we are moving into a new space in the heart of East Austin. This will be our first retail presence, and will help us become more relevant in Austin. We hope the store will be a great resource for people who want to get outdoors and have questions about what gear to use.

What do you most enjoy about working for KAMMOK?

I love that our team owns KAMMOK. In this business if you fail, you get real-time feedback on that. That sense of ownership is incredibly powerful and I haven’t had that in more service-related jobs. I also love the mission of KAMMOK. We see products as a catalyst for life change and we want to create products that lead to magical experiences for people. I enjoy building our team to amplify that mission.

What advice do you have for current BHP students?

I would tell them everything is going to be okay. There can be a lot of pressure to figure it out and I don’t know that we ever figure it out. Figuring it out is the journey and is a beautiful process. Have confidence in what a next step looks like and don’t feel pressure to get it right. The millennial generation will change jobs potentially 20 times in their lifetime. Don’t be afraid to take a risk. There are certain tracks people file into. If you already know that isn’t you, create an opportunity for yourself and don’t just respond to opportunities in front of you.