What did you do this past summer? We asked rising second-year MBA students to check in from their summer internships, where they applied the lessons of their first year at Yale SOM.
Jon Okafor ’21
Internship: Credit Suisse NYC (virtual)
Hometown: Verona, New Jersey
Favorite Yale SOM Class: Game Theory
Clubs and affiliations: Vice liaison of the Consortium Group, SOM United, Finance Club
Bonus facts: I’ve improved my 5K time from 19:42 to 19:26.
Favorite New Haven eatery: House of Naan
Favorite Professor: Deputy Dean Anjani Jain
Favorite Yale SOM community event: Closing Bell
My internship at Credit Suisse was in the Energy & Infrastructure Group. It was fully virtual, and I decided to do it in Washington, D.C. It was certainly difficult to get up to speed when physically removed from the resources at the office while contemporaneously learning all there is to know about working in a new environment.
My summer project was to model out a fully merchant combined-cycle gas turbine (CCGT) and pitch the potential sale of the asset to the managing directors in the group. It was a great experience as we got the opportunity to lead what would normally be an introductory client meeting—a great case of learning by doing.
Credit Suisse E&I Group set up a mentorship program for all summer associates. My mentors were particularly interested in my development, and I was encouraged to connect with all the managing directors (MDs) in the group. The global head of energy and infrastructure set up three separate one-on-one calls with all summer associates during the duration of the program. It gave us all an opportunity to engage with everyone in the group and get to know them on a more personal level.
Additionally, Credit Suisse initiated additional outreach for underrepresented minorities. I attended three separate events during the summer and was able to connect with an MD and a few vice presidents in other product groups. I still keep in touch with them while at Yale.
We did a virtual group run/walk for a philanthropic event and I logged a 19:42 on my 5k. I had not run a time that fast since 2012; it was very memorable! I was very proud of myself.
The reality is that a virtual internship cannot possibly match an in-person experience. It was harder to make relationships with my peers, so I had to reach out incessantly to create that camaraderie. As for assigned tasks, the expectation was relatively the same as in prior years (so I was told), but it took longer to get things done. When you are in the office, you can poke an experienced analyst or associate for help when you hit a wall, but virtually this can be daunting. You do not want to be the person pinging your associate with random questions six times in a day. You end up having to figure more things out on your own, but frankly I saw that as an advantage as I was able to learn more than I could have imagined over the seven-week experience.
I was happy with Credit Suisse and the experience they gave us this summer. It is easy to get frustrated with the augmented reality of a virtual experience, but many firms are doing a great job of adapting. I am excited to get an opportunity to be a part of the necessary innovation that is taking place at Credit Suisse. I am looking forward to going back for my full-time experience next summer!