Part of a series about summer internships from Olin MBA ’20 students. Today we hear from Tim Segrist who worked at Spire Energy as a corporate development intern.
I spent the summer as a corporate development intern at Spire Inc.—a natural gas distribution company serving cities throughout the Midwest and Southeast. Entering my MBA at Olin I knew I wanted to get involved in mergers and acquisitions and being able to do that from my hometown in St. Louis was a great opportunity.
Throughout the summer, I was able get involved in many of the different steps in the deal process (sourcing, modeling, due diligence, etc.). Ultimately, I was fascinated at how many inputs go into the buying decision as a strategic buyer and how different it is than a strictly financial process.
Day-to-day, my tasks were never the same (no two deals are truly alike, after all). I spent the first few weeks doing a deep-dive into the natural gas industry. It is difficult to be impactful in corporate development without fully understanding what the drivers of the business are.
I enjoyed this process as I was able to connect with different leaders throughout the company and hear about their experiences. My first real project involved doing analysis around the weighted average cost of capital we use for our models and helping build a precedent transactions model for buying local distribution companies (utilities). After that, I did work sourcing potential deals by researching financials, operations, and strategic fit.
Finally, I led the modeling on a deal which gave me practical experience on how to build a model that is scalable, flexible, and accurate. I really appreciated the variety of the role, as it gave me significant opportunity to learn as much as possible.
The internship was valuable for a plethora of reasons—notably, being able to apply classroom learning and work closely with impressive people (the corporate development team consistently presents to the C-suite). If I were to pass along any advice to others looking for/starting an internship:
1. Find a role where you can constantly learn. This summer has given me a lot of clarity on the type of industry, role, and career path I am going to pursue going forward.
2. Talk to as many people as you can throughout the internship—it has given me a great network of people I can keep up with going forward and allowed my projects to be more impactful.