Alexandra Vlasenkova, WH ’24, Moscow, Russia
Startups are fun, tight-knit and bring so much learning experience. The work that you do is very impactful and valued by your colleagues. You also get to make great friends and truly get to know people you are working with. You get the autonomy to work on your own projects and great responsibility for that work. It’s a great way to start your career – fun, challenging and very rewarding way of becoming independent and developing strong work ethic.
This summer I had the opportunity to intern at Prophet Models, a fintech startup that develops a software to build financial models faster and easier. For someone like me, planning to work in finance, it was perfect. I needed to learn how to build financial models, and Prophet’s software is designed to make building those models very intuitive, which made it a great tool to start learning with!
I worked with companies in different industries and helped build models for them, which not just made me more familiar with financial terms but gave me understanding of what they were and how they were flowing into financial statements. It also was a ton of very important practice building models, which is the best way to become good at it.
However, I also got to participate on the internal team meetings like developing features for the next version of the product, learn about the code and the idea behind the product, advertising and selling the product to customers, fundraising, and negotiating with investors – I saw many business-development processes inside the company, which painted a big picture. It was so exciting to see how every task ties into the big vision, and how it was explained to people outside of the company.
This experience also brought an amazing chance to learn from the finance professionals. And it could be anything from returns analysis build to very specific and valuable career advice, from venture initiation steps to software backend structure, from cardinality of imaginary numbers set to recommendations on hiking spots. Prophet’s founders patiently taught me and answered all questions. I don’t think it’s possible to get this much involvement from senior people at any financial institution.
This experience gave me financial modeling and valuation skills, taught me how to think like an investor, but also like a founder, brought me confidence in my financial knowledge and helped me determine my future career path. It brought amazing friends and terrific mentors and opened an exciting world of entrepreneurship.
This was truly unique and transformative experience – thank you Penn Career Services!
This is part of a series of posts by recipients of the 2022 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