Investing in Europe vs the USA: Learning the Differences

This is part of a series of posts by recipients of the 2021 Career Services Summer Funding Grant. We’ve asked funding recipients to reflect on their summer experiences and talk about the industries in which they spent their summer. You can read the entire series here.

This entry is by Leontij Potupin, WH’ 23

During this summer, I had the opportunity to intern at Arcadia Investment Partners, a private equity firm based out of New York specialized in a range of opportunistic alternative assets like fixed income, distressed, growth equity, private equity and real estate.

The PE summer analyst experience gave me a solid foundation on how to holistically analyze businesses, build financial models, and prepare effective presentations and investment memos. Learning the nuances of the diligence process like analyzing the business model, the competitive dynamics, margin profile, valuation, industry trends, while challenging at times, was an incredible learning experience. Last year I interned at a lower middle market private equity firm in Germany, but it was only through this experience that I truly began to understand the fundamentals of value investing and appreciate the differences between investing in Europe and the US.

From a practical perspective, I learned that it is crucial to pay close attention to details and that the style of presentation matters a lot when it comes to pitching an investment thesis to key stakeholders. I will most likely apply these real-life lessons throughout my future professional life, and I am grateful to have been able to get this experience early on in college.

My favorite part about the position was that I got to speak to investment professionals regularly. I would, on one hand, get to learn about a company’s investment merits, but on the other hand, get to offer my own perspective. One of the most exciting things about being a PE investor, I learned, is that you are able to improve the operations of portfolio companies through taking a long-term ownership mindset. Getting to have that inside look definitely changed my outlook on what it means to be an investor, and I am excited to continue to learn and expand my horizons.

While there is some level of competition among private equity firms, I have found that there is also a sense of community. Getting to intern with Arcadia afforded me not only a great network of PE investors within the fund, but an even richer, more vibrant community beyond the firm. It has been incredibly informative hearing about others’ views of unique business models as well as their experiences working in PE.

My biggest takeaway from this experience is that culture fit is tremendously important when determining whether a PE firm is the right place to work at. Furthermore, the size of the firm can also determine how overall infrastructure and training for junior people is organized.

The internship was unpaid, and it was only because of the generous summer funding grant from Penn Career Services that I was able to pursue this opportunity. This summer was exciting, insightful and I came out of it with a fresh perspective on private equity investing.

By Career Services
Career Services