By Olivia Lamb
Returning to Stockholm for New Years provided a chance to explore the snow covered city and reconnect with my summer as a Wallenberg Fellow. Six months prior, I was just starting as an intern in the mergers and acquisitions department of Electrolux. The position was a professional pivot from academic into the business arena, therefore the learning curve was steep. However, a dedicated supervisor and refresher on my undergraduate business courses helped to ease the transition. By the end of the internship, corporate valuations were an almost comforting concept. While the end result was rewarding, it was the journey that was truly remarkable.
Spending late nights in Shanghai and early mornings meeting with prospective acquisitions were definitely highlights of the experience. Each experience taught me more about the company as a whole and the resiliency necessary to grow and maintain such an expansive enterprise. The first weeks of my internship were populated with meetings aimed at saving a dying acquisition. Each day, it seemed as if the synergies and financial benefits were disappearing until the deal itself disappeared as well. The internship ended with me as a junior project manager on a burgeoning acquisition. As odd as it may sound, it was far more educational to see a project fail and how the business regroups than to ignorantly observe success.
However, the most gratifying opportunity I had was making various portfolios. Each portfolio was focused on a region or industry, identifying market leaders of strategic importance to the company. While the mechanics of the process were mundane, the skills learned will be eminently useful in my next endeavors after graduate school. Learning to identify market trends and assess synergies of possible acquisitions will help me as I look to enter the field of strategic consulting. But what made this internship so rewarding wasn’t just the lessons or travel opportunities, it was that I know my work was used during and after my internship. During my New Years visit, my former supervisor and I met for lunch and recounted the summer and provided updates personally and professionally. In the midst of the conversation, he informed me that one of my portfolios was followed up on with the support of the VP. Though he told me I couldn’t get a finders fee for my work, the simple fact that a summer intern could provide work of strategic value to am established multinational company was payment enough.
Before that lunch, I already knew that I had had a great internship and that the Wallenberg Program was a phenomenal opportunity. The visit and the lunch simply solidified my previous conclusion and provided a beautiful backdrop.