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Nick Lee, a first year at Northwestern – Kellogg and member of our Spring 2024 cohort, has been working alongside EIR Joshua Ahrens.

Nicholas Lee

Northwestern University – Kellogg School of Management
MBA ’25

Interning with NGP is a tremendous learning experience. The readings, financial modeling course, and Lunch & Learns are carefully curated and engaging. Supporting an EIR and getting your hands dirty is a great way to dive into the world of ETA/Search/PE and test if this is something you’d like to pursue full-time.

Can you describe your background and how it led to your pursuit of an internship at NGP?

After graduating from West Point, I decided to put my degree in Information Technology on the shelf and commission as an Armor Officer in the U.S. Army. I served 8 years in a variety of roles across the world. As I transitioned to the full-time MBA program at Northwestern Kellogg, I reflected on what I missed most about the military. My last assignment was as a tank company commander, in which I was responsible for a myriad of tasks involving personnel management and recruitment, daily operations, project management, and the overall successes and failures of the organization. I thrived in the autonomy, missed the commitment and buy-in required to run the organization, and realized these experiences would be valuable in searching for and running a small business. As I learned more about the world of ETA, I was immediately drawn to NGP’s model of supporting and accelerating EIRs.

Can you tell us a bit about the work you’ve done so far, and any interesting learnings?

I’m supporting Josh Ahrens in his search for an infrastructure-related business. We conduct market research on corrosion prevention and roofing companies in different states, source information on companies, reach out to business owners, evaluate brokered deal opportunities, and assist with due diligence. My biggest lesson learned is that ETA/Search is tough work. There’s no magic button and no easy solution to achieving success in this field. You must be diligent, stay motivated, and trust the process.

What is your team dynamic like?

The interns supporting Josh Ahrens are divided into two teams. One focuses primarily on corrosion prevention companies while the other focuses on roofing companies. We have a mix of MBA and undergraduate interns who come from different backgrounds. We’ve developed internal processes to share the workload and collaborate on workstreams to support our EIR. NGP and our EIR provide the tools, training, and coaching/feedback to help us refine our work and help us grow.

What you have you most enjoyed thus far?

I’m a strong proponent of learning by doing and have enjoyed the level of trust placed in the interns. Our EIR keeps us up to date and incorporates our workstreams into his search process.

Any skills you’ve gained or unique takeaways? Pre-existing skills you’re building upon?

I’ve really enjoyed the weekly reading and modeling assignments. They’re carefully curated by the NGP team and demonstrate their commitment to developing their interns. They provide context and foundational skills for sourcing and evaluating companies. I enjoy putting myself in the EIR’s shoes and thinking about whether a company is a good fit or not.

What stands out to you about NGP’s process that you’ve gotten to see first-hand?

NGP offers EIRs a complete support package for their search. The investment team, legal team, administrative team, tools and processes, advisors, interns, and lessons learned/playbook make EIRs more successful.

What do you envision yourself doing in the future, and how is interning with NGP building upon that?

Post-MBA, I will transition into consulting to gain broad exposure to different business models. After consulting, I plan to pursue ETA/Search. Interning with NGP has allowed me to test the waters and further pique my interest in this field.

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