Summer internships have long been a breeding ground for the next generation of professionals in every field. Here at Leisure Capital, it has become a longstanding tradition for us to invite a few eager students to intern at the firm each summer. While the specifics of the program have varied tremendously depending on the background, goals, and age of the students, the two things they receive in common are a behind-the-scenes look at what we do and how we work, and some hands-on experience in investment management.
Last year, of course, the pandemic threw a wrench in everyone’s summer plans. This summer, we were happy to welcome three enthusiastic students for a short, hybrid program. Over the course of the week-long session, we pulled back the curtain on the process of stock selection, the resources we use to inform our decisions, and the impact each choice has on our client portfolios. The students, Aaron, Elizabeth, and Beaue, joined Gideon and Avery online each morning for brief tutorials and an open Q&A session. Once they had the basics to work with, they each picked a specific stock from the LCM portfolio, then did their own research and created a sample pitch for the stock.
The week culminated in in-person presentations by the students. Aaron, Beaue, and Elizabeth each gave a PowerPoint presentation on a single stock, detailing how the investment added value to the portfolio and walking us through their own research process.
“I was impressed by depth of research and the detail of each presentation,” says Avery. “For example, Elizabeth uncovered a multi-billion-dollar reduction in net income that occurred in 2018 at Johnson & Johnson. Her presentation explained the cause of the dramatic change: a $13.6B charge resulting from the 2017 Tax Cuts & Jobs Act. She then discussed her views on the value of the stock today.”
Aaron and Beaue also presented their selections: Lockheed Martin and FedEx. “It was wonderful to watch their understanding of the ‘why, what, and how’ of stock selection blossom in a single week,” says Gideon. Following the presentations, the group sat down with Gideon and Avery for feedback, followed by a brief career Q&A and, of course, a fabulous lunch.
For Avery, dedicating an hour or two of each day to support the program was an easy choice. “For me, going out of my way to help others has always been a priority. I volunteer for KidWorks and the Tiger Woods Foundation, both of which help students pave a path toward college and fulfilling careers. Despite its small scale, our summer program does a great job at helping one student at a time learn about the role of investment managers.”
Avery’s drive to serve as a mentor is rooted in his own experiences. As a first-generation college graduate, he has walked in the shoes of students whose parents don’t have the experience and insights needed to guide their career paths. “In my home, no one had even heard of a FAFSA until I applied to school—much less how to pursue a college career. I was fortunate to have had amazing mentors who steered me in the direction of my career goals. Serving as a mentor myself is my way of giving back.”
Patrick Maxwell, now a Leisure Capital partner, is testament to the value of the LCM internship program. “I came to Leisure as an intern the summer before my senior year of college. It was the first time I was able to see how a financial management firm works in the real world, and I knew right away this was the career I wanted to pursue. I could also see that everything about the firm—the integrity of the people, the investment process, and the total commitment to clients—made it a perfect fit for me.”
Whether the summer brings one intern or a small handful through our doors, it has always been a positive experience, for the students and for our team. “In every case I can think of, these super-engaged, highly driven students have given us as much as we have given them,” says Gideon. “They ask tough questions, appreciate straight answers, and force us to look at our own processes from a new perspective.”
Will this summer’s interns be the financial managers of tomorrow? For Beaue and Elizabeth, both soon-to-be high school seniors, the program piqued their interest in a field that is traditionally dominated by men. One day, they may decide to help turn that tide. As a college junior, Aaron is already well on his way toward a career in financial services. Perhaps, as it did for Patrick before him, the program will lead him toward his ideal professional ‘home.’ No matter what the outcome, we hope our tradition of hosting summer interns will continue to open doors for the next generation of investment management professionals.
Clockwise from top left:
Avery, Beaue, Elizabeth, Gideon, and Aaron