He is currently under a year-long fellowship to study Thai at Chulalongkorn University and intern at a business development firm.
Follow Kayden's story as he completes his Thailand internship, and stay tuned for future updates.
Finding an Internship with AIP
With the help of Asia Internship Program (AIP), I got connected with and am now interning for a specialist strategy and transactions advisory firm focused on the Asian energy, resources, and infrastructure sectors.
Sitting on the 26th floor in the heart of Bangkok with a semi-panoramic view of the city, I am working in the midst of some of the biggest and most influential companies in the country.
Before coming to the firm, I studied the Thai language at Chulalongkorn University.
At the University's Center for Teaching Thai and a Foreign Language, I spent 15 hours a week reading newspapers, writing speeches, giving presentations, and debating on topics that pushed my language abilities from high intermediate to advanced.
From there I decided to take my energy and enthusiasm into the real world by pursuing an internship in business development in an economic hub of Southeast Asia.
The growing pains that go along with getting accustomed to the consultant environment did not last long.
I was accustomed to being in a position where I could not distinguish where work ends and when my personal life starts, thanks to recently finishing my first year of the graduate program in public policy in Boston.
Starting at My New Company
On my first day, I hit the ground running with a big project. I had to identify the biggest companies in Thailand based on market capitalization and use the Bloomberg Terminal.
The Terminal is a software system that provides a livestream of updates and financial data including news, reports, statements, and recommendations from analysts and institutions.
Using this incredibly powerful software, I quickly figured out that it is possible to use Excel functions to import information on almost any and all financial indicators in addition to future earnings forecasts.
The data can be used to understand the current players in the market, analyze market share, and identify undervalued stocks.
The office atmosphere is incredibly collaborative. You will get help immediately if you ask for it.
People are willing to drop whatever they are doing no matter how busy they are to help.
Early on in my internship, I asked a colleague how to use an expensive, but unintuitive research tool. She immediately helped me get a login username and password and gave me a mini-tutorial.
There have been several instances where I am formatting an Excel sheet and a PowerPoint slide down to the minute detail. However, my co-worker reminded me that it is good enough for a first draft and to send it in; she was right, and I saved valuable hours that I could spend on other projects.
My coworkers have been a critical factor in my professional development and they have helped me understand the spirit of teamwork in a consultant company.
Life Outside the Office
Aside from being in the office from nine until six every day, I invest time into reading. My latest book is ˜Intelligent Investor" by Alexander Graham, which I read during my commute around Bangkok.
The 640-page book gives its readers insight on what value investing means and how numbers can fool us if we are not vigilant in understanding how the market works.
Warren Buffet, the world's richest man, lauds the book. His quote provides an apt summary of the book, â€œForecasts may tell you a great deal about the forecaster; they tell you nothing about the future.
This book provides a valuable lesson that I can apply to my internship and future career.
After identifying and categorizing companies based on their EBITDA, P/E ratio, current market capitalization, net debt, and other key financial indicators, we need to perform due diligence to understand who the leadership is and if the company is prepared to react amidst disruptive trends.
If one searches for ˜investment advice" or ˜How to get rich from investing in stocks," it will become obvious to them that there is a vast array of theories and concepts that will often leave the reader paralyzed with inaction.
As an individual investor, I have to understand the underlying current of companies listed on the stock markets and how companies can create value for their shareholders beyond sales.
Going in Prepared
Before coming to the firm, I talked with previous consultants from the Big Three, McKinsey & Company, Boston Consulting Group, and Bain & Company.
I wanted to gain insight into their work and responsibilities and better prepare for my new position.
From there, I drafted a list of goals I had for my internship. It included skills, quantifiable goals, and deliverables I want to have by the end of my time here.
In the first weeks of working, the Vice Chairman invited me to his office for an initial chat. He was fully supportive of my professional development and the list made a very positive impression.
Making the list was one of the most valuable advice that I received years ago in my previous internship in Washington, D.C. from my mentor, and it has been one that I have been using ever since.
Coming into a consulting firm I knew that PowerPoints skills were essential. It is a method by which analysts can use to present critical data in a compelling manner.
However, I had to redefine my idea of what a visually stunning presentation looks like when I saw the slides that some of my colleagues designed.
Not only do they instantly impress the viewer with their crisp format, but they also use ingenuity when placing vector shapes together to make ribbons, 3-D images, and graphs that are assumed to be reserved for only professional designers using Photoshop or InDesign.
I have learned tips and tricks using different colors and image editing to subdue or emphasize images along with styles that I will keep for the rest of my professional career.
Embark on Your Own Internship Adventure
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