Harry Pershing, a second year at HEC Paris, spent his summer working alongside EIR Drew Chiles.
Can you describe your background and how it led to your pursuit of an internship at NGP?
Prior to joining NGP I worked as a macroeconomist at a few large investment banks. I enjoyed the analytical nature of the job and the ability to create investment theses grounded in data. The opportunity to interact with buy-side investors exposed me to a variety of asset classes and investment strategies, including the concept of ETA. Upon embarking on my MBA at HEC Paris I immediately dove headfirst into the search fund literature and quickly realized that this path aligned with my professional skills and natural interests.
Can you tell us a bit about the work you’ve done so far, and any interesting learnings?
As part of a dynamic 7-person team supporting Drew Chiles, NGP’s newest entrepreneur-in-residence, there is never a dull moment in the search process. I am leading the team’s sourcing efforts in the waste management space, an industry I previously had very little knowledge of. I spend a good portion of my time filtering companies that meet Drew’s and NGP’s qualifications and then evaluate their growth potential. I most enjoy hopping on calls with business owners to better understand their personal story and help determine whether this potential deal makes sense for all parties involved.
What is your team dynamic like?
Our team is extremely tight knit and comfortable with each other, despite only working together for 8 weeks. Drew has done a fantastic job in fostering a lighthearted but extremely driven culture. We have hard deadlines every week pertaining to company outreach quotas and email campaigns, but we are also expected to bring a new ‘Dad Joke’ to the Friday meeting, no excuses allowed! At a high level, our group of interns is broken up into 4 teams, each focused on a different industry: HVAC, Landscaping, Waste Removal, Opportunistic. I can confidently say that am learning as much from my fellow interns, both MBAs and undergraduates, as I am learning from the more formal search process.
What you have you most enjoyed thus far?
I enjoy every opportunity in which I can interact with business owners and learn more about their company story. To me, this is the most rewarding aspect of the internship – the ability to not only listen to a business owner walk through the company’s financials, but to understand the reason why they founded this company and the reason they are now selling. Oftentimes, I take a back seat during the owner/broker calls and simply observe the owner’s disposition and take detailed notes when they ask questions. Every owner-call is uniquely entertaining and endlessly educational.
Any skills you’ve gained or unique takeaways? Pre-existing skills you’re building upon?
This internship has provided me with ample opportunity to sharpen my data-cleaning abilities and LBO modeling skillset. The centrality of these skills to the search fund process underscores NGP’s focus on providing fundamental competencies to their interns, servicing them well beyond the 10-week summer program.
What stands out to you about NGP’s process that you’ve gotten to see first-hand?
The support system of NGP is simply incredible. NGP puts a premium on equipping their entrepreneurs-in-residence with the tools and resources to succeed. This support goes beyond providing state-of-the-art technology and includes a deep and diverse professional network of advisors who are a phone call away. NGP encourages not only their searchers to lean on this wealth of knowledge but opens this up network to the wider internship program.
What do you envision yourself doing in the future, and how is interning with NGP building upon that?
As an MBA student quickly approaching graduation, I know that I want to own and operate a small business at some point in the future and believe that a sponsored search is the most efficient path to this end. Whether I work at a small PE firm, a search fund accelerator or a portfolio company in the immediate future, I am comforted to know that the world of ETA will never be far.