Student Spotlight: Samantha Lustberg

Name: Samantha (Sam) Lustberg

Major: Canfield BHP, Management Information Systems

Company: Bringg 

Position: Business Solutions Analyst

Topics of Interest: kickboxing, all the foods in the world, social dance, the ukulele

It’s not often students get to travel abroad for an internship, but Samantha (Sam) Lustberg had the opportunity to work not one, but two internships this past summer in Tel Aviv, a city on the coast of Israel. 

Sam began her summer in Tel Aviv as a consultant at a boutique firm, Targo Consulting, where she worked with pre-seed startups analyzing the ideas presented by budding entrepreneurs. After working at Targo for a few weeks, Sam pivoted to a new role at Bringg. 

Bringg, a Series C technology startup, is a delivery logistics software that partners with Fortune 500 companies to ensure data security when working with food delivery services like Uber Eats and Postmates. Sam worked as a Business Solutions Analyst on the Business Development team. She had the opportunity to strategize with the sales and marketing teams for the rest of the summer. 

“I had two experiences. A lot of it was me transferring what I learned in the consulting firm to this new tech company, Bringg, where I worked in Business Development,” Sam said. “My job was to realign the sales and marketing teams. There was this problem with connecting the most recent marketing materials with sales. So I helped create a centralized platform for all of that.”

In addition to helping to create a centralized platform, Sam worked to develop Bringg’s international marketing efforts. As an American intern in another country, she brought a unique skillset to the table. 

“Bringg is an international company and I was in Israel and obviously there’s a huge language barrier,” Sam said. “They were looking to market around the world and I helped with building emails and content so their English language marketing was improved.” 

Throughout all of her work, Sam said she loved her time in Tel Aviv. As someone who hails from New York and has studied abroad in Hong Kong, culture shock does not come easily for her. The biggest challenge Sam faced was finding and securing the internship in the first place. Sam’s advice to other students is to network and stay involved outside of McCombs. 

“Navigating actually getting these opportunities is not as easy because I didn’t do it through McCombs. I went through Texas Hillel, which is an on-campus organization which then connected me to the third party organization that led me to the internship,” Sam said. “If you want to have an opportunity outside of McCombs, then you really have to talk to other organizations, continue networking with people and just make sure you put yourself in the right places at the right time.” 

Sam also advises students to find friends and champions to support them through the recruiting process. She said peers from Canfield BHP and Texas Hillel kept her connected and vouched for her during the recruiting process. 

“There have been other Canfield BHP kids in the past who have gone to Israel and using them as champions was helpful,” Sam said. “For example, a friend was going to do the program that I did, so she helped me make all the connections. The key takeaway from that is there’s a network within Canfield BHP for whatever you want to do. If you want to go into Tel Aviv it can happen. If you want to go into television or any other industry, it can happen.”

Student Spotlight: Sloane Castleman

Name: Sloane Castleman

Major: Canfield BHP, Plan II Honors

Company: National Basketball Association (NBA)

Position: Team Finance Intern

Topics of Interest: Outdoor skiing, music, reading, photography, finding new restaurants

While some students searched Recruit McCombs for investment banking, marketing, or consulting internships last year, Sloane Castleman took a different route. She browsed Google for different Finance positions and eventually found a posting that stood out. After applying, interviewing, and getting the job, Sloane spent this past summer in New York as a Team Finance Intern for the National Basketball Association (NBA). 

Interning with the NBA before her senior year allowed Sloane to learn more about not only finance, but also basketball. She had the opportunity to compile the PNLs of each of the teams, review year over year team profitability, and analyze the models that the NBA uses for League financials. 

“I was specifically under the team and labor finance group and I helped create a model that was a template for the outputs that we needed to give the (team) directors. It was cool because I got to look at their other models and see how the NBA as a whole viewed leagues’ finances, including international leagues like the China League and Africa League,” Sloane said. 

Oddly enough, Sloane didn’t apply to the position as a major basketball fan. Rather, she applied because she thought the position would be a great learning experience. She said she wanted to explore something new and she loved sports, so it seemed like a great opportunity. In addition, Sloan studied abroad the semester before going into the internship and was able to take a Business of Sports class while in Europe that helped her the following summer. 

“I have never been a huge NBA follower or anything,” Sloane said, “But (the study abroad class) was a lot about the business of soccer and Formula One. It was cool to be able to take that into my internship because I would never have studied that here at UT.”

Although Sloane didn’t expect to take sports-related classes at UT, her Canfield Business Honors major helped her feel prepared in different ways. 

“In my final review my boss said I was good at communicating and presenting,” Sloane said. Being able to get up on stage and not be worried and then have people asking me hard questions and being able to think on the spot is something I definitely got from Canfield BHP.”

In addition to helping her improve her speaking skills, Sloane said Canfield BHP has helped her improve her focus on the bigger picture within business problems. She said Canfield BHP professors teach students to analyze details, but also take a step back to think about how the lessons they’re learning in classes or units fit into the larger picture.

“(My boss) said I was good at taking numbers and thinking about the cases and contexts they fit into, like the overall aspects within the company that those factors could be affecting,” Sloane said. “I think that’s a very Canfield BHP thing to be able to do because we’re taught to look at the big picture too.”

Overall, Sloane walked away from the internship knowing what she wanted to do full-time. She said she enjoyed her environment, but the strategy aspects of the job excited her most. Next year, Sloane will begin her full-time job at Boston Consulting Group (BCG). Her advice to other students is to not be afraid to take on new experiences because opportunities for learning are always available.

“Internships are the best way to see what you enjoy. I realize how much I like to work in sports, but I also realized that cut and dry finance isn’t totally for me,” Sloane said. “With each internship experience, there’s so much you can learn, so keeping an open mind and looking for things that get you excited is the way to go about it.”

Student Spotlight: Brooke Reaves

Brooke Reaves in front of TaskUs LogoMajors: Canfield BHP, Plan II, Government

Company: TaskUs

Position: Research and Product Development Intern

Topics of Interest: Entrepreneurship, Women’s Empowerment, Civil Discourse, and Education


From her time as a Research and Product Development Intern to her insightful exploration of India, while conducting personal research, Brooke Reaves goes in-depth about her experiences as an intern and student seeking karma this summer.

Brooke is a junior at Canfield BHP and as a Business Honors, Plan II, and Government major, she has a full plate this year. She recently spent time interning at TaskUs, a global tech outsourcing company that delivers next-generation business strategy, process optimization, revolutionary technology, and the best talent available. Brooke spoke to me about her projects and overall experience working as a Research and Product Development Intern and described her learnings.

On her travels abroad, Brooke talked to us about her wonderful experience as a student studying in India as part of her Plan II sanctioned research on women’s education and entrepreneurship. We also learn about how she worked with an organization called Women on Wheels that helps to promote a woman’s right to drive in India.

Tell me about your internship at TaskUs.

View from TaskUs Austin office

View from TaskUs Austin office

TaskUs is a Global tech outsourcing company. They work with several firms to help maximize their customer experience and customer service offerings. I specifically worked on a solo project building a business case and recommending a corporate strategy to upscale their workers from entry-level workers to high skilled workers so they can become even better competitors in highly saturated marketplaces.


What sorts of projects were you involved in?

I performed research, shadowed employees, built a financial model, and got to research different types of training programs. Specifically, I conducted market research and utilized financial models, just like we do in Canfield BHP classes, and built a slide deck that I presented at the firm. Essentially, I was able to build a business case and presented it to the executive team which included the SVP of Client Services (my boss), CCO (Chief Client Officer), and CEO at TaskUs. It’s not normal for interns to be given this much responsibility on a solo project and the amount of trust that I was given felt unparalleled. This was a genuinely amazing opportunity and I’m grateful to have had the chance to do this.

I also had the opportunity to oversee the education program at TaskUs. This program provides a variety of educational programming to entry-level workers who may or may not have some college training. It serves to elevate their skill sets in any field they want and enables them to take on new roles within the firm. My job was to develop the education program and build a solid case that would help convince the board to preserve it.

Tell us about the challenges you faced and how you overcame them.

Working on a solo project like this is a lot of responsibility. Normally, you can build off of each other’s strengths in a Canfield BHP class. If you have questions or problems, you can go to each other. For me, it was increasingly challenging because I had questions. I had to do more research and dig in to find potential ways to come up with a solution before asking my boss. I wanted to show my boss that I had already tried doing everything I could to find an answer before coming to him. I wanted to prove that I was trying my hardest and taking the time and effort rather than coming off as an ignorant intern who just needed to be babysat. They gave me so much responsibility and I wanted to do my best with it. They gave me a lot of freedom because they trusted me. It was a wonderful experience and I loved it so much.

Any advice for current students?

Take advantage of every opportunity you get. I know it sounds cheesy but all I had to do with my boss was just ask him. He didn’t offer me the chance to sit in on a sales department visit. I just asked him. I said, “Hey, I got this email by accident. I think this potential client is going to visit. Is it possible that I can I sit in?” He thought it would be a cool idea and it worked out. This wasn’t something that was given to me. I had to pursue it and be eager to show up. I had to be willing to be there and ready to learn from a different department. As interns, you just expect to stay in your lane and do your work but if you reach outside your comfort zone or job description of your internship, you’ll find there can be a lot of opportunities available and you’ll have an even better experience.

How was your time in India? What piqued your interest in traveling there?

Brooke visiting the Taj Mahal

Brooke visiting the Taj Mahal

I did a section on Indian literature in my Plan II World Literature class freshman year and loved it. We read the Ramayana and it was amazing. It’s probably one of my favorite books that I’ve ever read. That was what initially interested me in the country and the culture. Then I saw that Plan II provides a scholarship grant every summer that offers $2500. To earn the scholarship, you propose a country and why you want to visit, then if you win, you get selected to go. I thought it was the perfect opportunity to explore a culture that I had very little knowledge about.

How do you apply for that scholarship and how does it work?

India Gate in Mumbai

India Gate in Mumbai

You propose the country and research topic then create a formal report. Then you have to perform independent research or conduct personal discovery of that topic. I proposed women’s education and entrepreneurship. While I was there, I arranged informal interviews with a handful of women in small businesses and got the opportunity to work with an organization called Women On Wheels. They work to promote women driving cars in India, which is still unpopular and to a certain extent, stigmatized in India. I had many conversations when I was with these drivers about what it was like to be part of an initiative like that. We also visited a restaurant that is run entirely by acid attack survivors, as part of that personal research, and I was able to speak to and learn from these women and their experiences as well.

What were your key takeaways from the trip?

Friends in Pushkar

Friends in Pushkar

It was overwhelming in the best way possible. It made me think about the happenstance of birth, and just how lucky I am to be at UT and be born in the US. Especially as a woman, having that amount of opportunity in my life is a gift. It’s not part of the norm in many parts of the world and some parts of India to have that level of opportunity. However, in India, there’s so much hope and progress in this area. There’s plenty of room for advancements but they’re definitely at the forefront of women’s rights. However, the privilege of being born in the US just can’t be emphasized enough.

If you’re interested in studying abroad in India, Brooke highly recommends learning about the culture in advance. Culture shock is a real thing that can happen if you don’t prepare for it. She explains that power outages are commonplace, the water quality is questionable throughout the country, and bottled water is king. Nonetheless, Brooke fell in love with the people and the culture of India. If you like the color pink, she highly recommends the city of Jaipur, which is filled with beautiful pink buildings accenting the city. If you prefer a touristy locale, visit the neighboring city called Udaipur which is known as the Venice of India. Oh, and did we mention the monkeys?

Student Spotlight: Andrea Ocanas

Name: Andrea Ocanas

Major: Canfield BHP, Accounting (MPA)

Company: Dell

Position: Government Affairs Intern

Topics of Interest: Education, Social Impact, Entrepreneurship

From budgeting to working on government research to driving women’s empowerment initiatives, Andrea Ocanas had the opportunity to do it all this summer while interning at Dell. 

As a Government Affairs Intern, Andrea was not quite sure what to expect at first. Initially, she spent the majority of her time researching social issues that certain Representatives and Senators stand for. After working with her supervisors to increase her “business oriented” workload, Andrea was able to dive deeper into budgeting and social outreach initiatives. 

“Some of (Dell’s) main goals are focused on enhancing women entrepreneurship and STEM education,” Andrea said. “The government affairs team has worked to implement different programs across the country. The whole Dell team will go to (a city) and get people from that city to participate in social impact projects or events.”

One of the cities Dell is currently working with just so happens to be Las Cruces, New Mexico, which borders El Paso, Andrea’s hometown.

“The (initiative) in El Paso focused on women’s entrepreneurship and Dell hosted a competition and they got a team to brainstorm ideas that would help female entrepreneurs in the area start businesses,” Andrea said. “I got to go to meetings at the Mexican embassy to figure out how we would work with Mexico, New Mexico and then the edge of Texas to get resources towards the project.” 

Andrea said it was nice to work with an area she knew while still interning in Washington, D.C., a place she has always wanted to visit. She said she expected to do quite a bit of government-oriented work and welcomed all the learning opportunities that the internship presented.

“I think one of the main things I took out of the summer was that there’s a lot more to businesses than just accounting and finance,” Andrea said. “A lot of what is happening up there (in DC) really does affect businesses. It’s just harder to see from far away.” 

Despite the distance and familiarity of the program in general, Andrea said Canfield BHP prepared her well for the shift because of the diverse community the program offers. 

“A big thing I learned from being in BHP is just how to talk to different people. Being from El Paso was kind of different because, despite the fact that I’m a minority, I’ve been in the majority my whole life,” Andrea said. “All of my supervisors (in DC) varied on the political spectrum and a bunch of other factors. It was a small, but diverse team. CanfieldBHP taught me a lot about how to interact with different people and helped me stay comfortable going up to DC and being in that internship.” 

Student Spotlight: Vibhav Joopelli


Major:
Canfield BHP, Finance

Company: Goldman Sachs

Position: Summer Analyst in Specialty Lending Group

Topics of Interest: Investing, Current Events, Entrepreneurship


 

 

Stocks and bonds, loans, assets, and commodities – oh my! Investing in today’s world economy is more complex than ever. This is why it’s important that we have really smart individuals overseeing our wealth. Smart people like fellow Canfield BHPer Vibhav Joopelli.

Over the course of the summer, Vibhav performed his duties as a Summer Analyst in the Specialty Lending Group at Goldman Sachs, a division which sits within the firm’s Special Situations Group (SSG). SSG is a “global, multi-asset class business, specializing in principal investing and lending in all levels of capital structures on a risk-adjusted return basis. SSG lends and invests Goldman’s capital directly to mid-sized companies.” We caught up with Vibhav and talked about his experience at Goldman Sachs this summer.

Tell me about your internship at Goldman Sachs.

The internship at Goldman Sachs was divided into two major parts. One part consisted of three major projects that we worked on over the course of the summer and synthesized a lot of what we had learned. The other part of the internship involved my participation in ongoing live deals. A full deal-team worked on these live deals but I specifically assisted the deal-team with specific aspects of the diligence process. Additionally, I also drafted slides for the Investment Committee memo, conducted financial analysis, and performed any unique research tasks that were needed by the team.

What projects did you work on specifically?

One of the biggest projects I worked on involved drafting up an Investment Committee memo for my final internship project, which was based off of a previous deal the group had closed. I was tasked with performing the qualitative and quantitative analysis for the deal. This included deriving valuation methods to evaluate the business, writing up a company and industry overview, and determining high level investment strengths and risks. Secondly, I worked on a live deal for a restaurant company that was going through a bankruptcy process. These were two of the largest projects that I was involved in. Additionally, I also worked on a deal for a real-estate software technology company and developed a tear-sheet for summarizing an investment into a telecom services provider.

What interested you in this opportunity?

I was originally interested in the internship because I wanted to experience learning how to invest from the perspective of one of the largest players in the industry. I thought the internship would provide me a great opportunity to learn the basics of financial analysis and performing due diligence into potential investment opportunities. I also liked the opportunity to be a part of a large organization that had a significant breadth of resources. During my internship, I was able to utilize some of those resources to learn more about various industries through conversations I was able to have with industry experts available to me in the Goldman Sachs network.

Let’s talk about the challenges you faced while working on your biggest projects and how you overcame those obstacles.

The biggest challenges I had were for example, being thrown into the projects earlier on and not having as much familiarity with how to properly execute tasks and build out the models that we were utilizing. Trying to figure out how to do those on my own was difficult, at first, but I was able to reference past deals that the company had made and use other resources that the company had in the database to build up my knowledge and the skills necessary to complete the project tasks. There is a significant learning curve, at first. Admittedly, a lot of the stuff I did wasn’t 100% correct right off the bat but many of the people at the firm were willing to help and provide guidance on how to properly do some of the things that were necessary for the projects.

What was the company culture like at Goldman Sachs?

The company culture was welcoming and collegial. It was a really small group so you got to know everyone in the group very quickly. Everyone was generally very willing to help out as questions came up or as challenges arose. They understood we were interns. They also knew when to hold our hand versus when to let us figure things out on our own. Sometimes the best way to learn things is to figure them out on your own, rather than having someone walk you through the process step-by-step. There were also a good number of out-of-office activities that the company hosted to help you get to know everyone better.

What resources can students with similar interests and goals utilize to gain an internship like the one you participated in?

I’d highly recommend leveraging on-campus organizations. Within the investing space, there are multiple investment teams and finance organizations that provide mentorship and guidance through upperclassmen and through structured teaching curriculums. The next step, once you’re in those organizations, is to leverage the upperclassmen at McCombs and CBHP specifically, to talk about their experiences. Ask them to walk you through some of the challenges that they faced, how they overcame those, and what steps they took afterward. Additionally, ask them to point you towards helpful online resources.

In a nutshell, get involved in McCombs with different organizations and leverage upperclassmen at McCombs and CBHP. Do the grunt work on your own to talk to alumni and learn about what their experiences were like as well. At the same time, I’d encourage everyone in McCombs to step out of the comfort zone of the business school and get involved in activities and organizations outside of school. Whether they be social / service organizations or fun hobbies, getting involved outside of McCombs provides a unique perspective and can allow you to meet some really cool people.