Returning from the Military with CFS

Name: Dave

Year: Junior

Majors: Mathematics and Economics

CFS Program: Field Studies in the Modern Workplace

Employer: NextGen Growth Partners

As an international student who had to serve in the military, I had to leave Northwestern after my sophomore year in 2015. It was when I returned to school after two whole years that I first heard about the Chicago Field Studies Program. For months before applying for this program, I struggled with the process of looking for internships and ultimately had to rely on family connections to secure an internship position for 2017 summer. To receive help and insight on the recruiting process, I decided to apply for the 2018 Winter CFS Program.

Applying for the CFS program is one of the best choices I made at Northwestern. It was through the Associate Director of the CFS program that I got the chance to go over my resume for the first time and learn about all kinds of different companies in Chicago. I still remember the first day when we went over a list of companies looking to hire CFS interns. It was an enlightening experience when she went over various companies in detail by shedding light on past intern experiences and the companies’ areas of expertise. It was also extremely helpful to receive help on interview skills. Before CFS, I did not know how to prepare for interviews, but through her, I was able to learn about the STAR techniques and numerous approaches to answering behavioral questions. Without her, I would have still been a clueless student just hoping to secure an internship without knowing the techniques.

I am currently working at NextGen Growth Partners, a private equity firm that focuses on lower middle market companies generating $5-50M in revenue. And I love it. I love the work I do because it spans from making industry scorecards to presenting my research to everyone in the company. I also love the people with whom I work. I got the chance to meet undergraduate, graduate, and even MBA interns at the workplace. I love the collaborative atmosphere and I really feel like I bond with them by having frequent lunches at the Chicago French Market or Au Cheval. I am also extremely satisfied at the fact that I am not only being exposed to the operations of a private equity firm, but also learning technical skills to thrive in the financial services firm, such as building an LBO or DCF models. Although this is my second internship, it is by far my favorite.

I find my CFS class, Modern Workplace Culture, just as interesting as my internships. The discussion-based classroom style really forces me to connect my experiences in the internship with the readings that we do for the class. It was fascinating to hear fellow CFS interns’ inputs and opinions on the nature of their work and history of workplace culture in modern, developed or undeveloped nations. My instructor also does a fantastic job at incorporating gripping readings and songs to maintain our focus and interest throughout the quarter.