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Patrick Ryan, a second year at University Michigan – Ross School of Business, spent his Summer working alongside EIR Drew Chiles.

Patrick Ryan

University of Michigan Ross School of Business
MBA ’24

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

My name is Pat Ryan, I’m an MBA about to start my second year at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business. Prior to Ross, I served as an aviation officer and helicopter pilot in the US Army for 10 years. Though originally considering other areas of focus, I was fortunate enough to be introduced to the search fund community during my first MBA year through the Entrepreneurship through Acquisition (ETA) club while attending local conferences and information events. I quickly became hooked by the search fund model and passionate about learning as much as I could about the community, soon looking for internship opportunities in the space. Luckily, a fellow Ross classmate who had just completed an internship with NGP highly recommended the firm as a great team to work for.

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

Over the past 2 months, I’ve been working with an Entrepreneur in Residence (EIR) while specifically helping to analyze industry reports, finding prospective companies for purchase, and formulating introductory communications with possible sellers. Additionally, I’ve had the opportunity to participate in preliminary brokered talks between the EIR and business owners as well as numerous interactions with NGP’s deal team as they work with the EIR on possible valuation ideas. Lastly, once a week, NGP provides highly beneficial “lunch-and-learn” educational calls between the interns and the NGP executives – ranging from the deal, operations, and talent management teams.

Overall, I think the most interesting learning so far has been working one-on-one with the entrepreneur and watching how he manages day-to-day operations. There are so many great resource guides on search fund economics– from the Stanford primers to HBR’s Buying a Small Business, but being able to see how an entrepreneur cultivates those techniques in real-time, utilizing interns and mentors while navigating the challenges and pressures of finding a great business, is truly invaluable experience.

What is your team dynamic like?

Great question. The EIR that I work for has 7 total interns (four MBA and three undergraduate) on his team, broken into 3 subgroups, each focused on specific industries to help divide the workload. Nevertheless, though each group is responsible for their own tasks, the team dynamic has been great. The EIR does a fantastic job in leveraging intern skills sets and feedback in order to create a more beneficial experience for all. Though the interns are working remote from around the world, the team has daily to weekly check-ins, sharing personal goals, summer plans, and major life events. The intern team has been an added bonus to the overall great experience with the NGP internship.

What you have you most enjoyed thus far?

I’ve enjoyed the real-time practical execution of conducting a search – specifically, joining brokered calls between the EIR and prospective business owners. These types of experiences are priceless to witness and help to reinforce the vast amounts of literature, readings, podcasts, and confessionals available to interested searchers.

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

The technical skills I’ve developed over the summer include the institutional learnings provided by NGP and the unique perspectives that NGP’s leadership shared with the interns throughout the “lunch & learn” seminars. NGP is a well-oiled machine, with effective processes, evident by the decades of experience and knowledge that make up their core teams.

Likewise, the soft skill development I’ve gained is just as important. Watching the EIRs balance the pressures of evaluating opportunities, managing their emotions and expectations when some deals fail, all while keeping an optimistic outlook for the future and caring for a group of interns – priceless.

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

The quality of NGP’s process is evident in the team they have and continue to build. From the overwhelming support EIRs are provided, to the genuine care NGP shows its interns, the process they’ve created is unique. Watching first-hand how closely tied each EIR gets to work with the resources at NGP is special to see.

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

My summer with NGP and working with their great team has further helped to solidify my interest in joining the search fund community in the future. NGP opened my eyes to vast opportunities within the ETA space, and I am excited to hopefully join in the footsteps of the EIRs I worked with his summer.

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