Mens et Manus. My Experience Interning at Watermill as an MBA Student
As any MBA student will attest, the Case Method is a fantastic way to learn as it contextualizes important principles with real-world anecdotes. However, in a 90-minute class one can only digest so much information, and, if you’re like me, no matter how important the content, an hour in you might accidentally find yourself thinking about what to digest for lunch instead of key points from that morning’s discussion.
MIT’s official seal bears the Latin motto Mens et Manus – or “Mind and Hand” – with an illustration of a laborer holding an anvil next to a scholar reading a book. Among other interpretations, the seal stands as a reminder to students of the importance of both theory and practice.
Here’s what I’ve found interesting while at Watermill: We talk more about Porter’s Five Forces here than in class!
What makes Watermill unique, and why I am so grateful to have the opportunity to spend my free time here outside of class, is that everyone on the Watermill team comes from a different career background and most folks here have operating experience…a lot of it: our Senior Partners have run Industrial businesses together for over 40 years!
Each day everyone on our team rolls their sleeves up, gets their manus dirty, and applies a lifetime of experience in Strategy, Operations, Marketing, Management, Engineering Accounting, or Finance to current and prospective investments. In today’s crowded Private Equity landscape, this diversity of experience stands out to me as Watermill’s competitive advantage. Lucky for me, I’m relied on to apply lessons I’ve learned at school in each of these disciplines alongside everyone else.
Just this week my Operations Strategy class examined Flextronics’ evolution from a Contract Manufacturer to an Original Design Manufacturer and the associated changes to the company’s supply chain, customer relationships, and margin structure. Immediately, I thought of analogous work that Watermill Partner Bob Ackerman is leading with the executive team at Watermill portfolio Company Tenere and revisited the factors that have driven Tenere’s growth during Watermill’s ownership.
Indeed, working at Watermill has provided a great introduction to the Private Equity industry (I’m hooked – I’ve caught the ‘deal bug’), but what has made my experience here special is the hands-on approach the Watermill team takes to solving problems. As a result, being at Watermill has made attending school all the more meaningful, and vice versa. Mens et Manus.
Matt Caple, Watermill 2018 Summer and Schoolyear Intern