My Summer WINternship

#1 Testing the Waters at Watermill Group. A blog by Joe Tamposi, Watermill Summer Intern

With my second week as an intern with the Watermill Group coming to a close, I’d like to write out a few thoughts.

First off, I couldn’t imagine a better office atmosphere (if I sound biased, don’t worry, I’m not getting paid enough to exaggerate the positives about Watermill). Everyone that I’ve met has been engaging and enthusiastic. The people at Watermill are smart, driven, and creative, but they also have a lighter side. From day one I was instructed on how Watermill analyzes deals and have been working independently on deal summaries to present during investment committee meetings. The team is approachable when I have questions, but the ball is definitely in my court to analyze the investment memorandum and form an opinion on the deal. I present the investment summaries during investment committee meetings and have to be very prepared to answer the Partners’ specific and detailed questions.

I am excited for the unique opportunity to learn about all aspects of what Watermill does and how it is successful. For instance, even the more menial tasks like sending letters to investors and bankers announcing Watermill’s newest acquisition have provided insight into the degree of commitment, follow-up, and personal relationships necessary to run a successful private equity firm. When I interact with team members, it’s clear that I am working with some of the sharpest minds out there.

Of course, working at Watermill does have some challenges. For me, the biggest has been the pace of workflow. Some days the office is incredibly quiet and there isn’t much exciting work to be done, while other days I’m working on deal analysis or data entry pretty much nonstop from the time I arrive. The ebbs and flows will take some getting used to, but they seem to come with the realm of private equity. Some other challenges have included re-learning how to work on a Windows laptop, learning to feel confident in my own analyses and opinions about companies and industries I haven’t seen before, and dealing with Massachusetts drivers on my commute (I recently learned the term “mass-hole”).

All in all, being exposed to private equity in a small but intensive environment is exactly what I was looking for in a summer internship. I want to learn everything I possibly can about how expert investors find, analyze and approach potential deals, as well as be able to contribute meaningfully and add value to Watermill. It doesn’t hurt that my fellow intern, Andrew, and I have taken full advantage of the office ping-pong table and the chocolate-covered raisins from the kitchen. So far, I’d say it’s been an excellent start to the summer.

June 21, 2013