“Private equity is about working with people, not just numbers,” says Sandberg’s Investment Manager Jakub

04. 04. 2024

We spoke to our Investment Manager Jakub Krajčovič about Sandberg Academy and the unique concept of summer internship program.

What was the initial idea behind Sandberg’s decision to launch summer internships for students as part of the Sandberg Academy?

All of us at Sandberg had various experience and were in junior positions. We’ve all experienced the feeling when someone at work wanted something from us, but it wasn’t properly explained, and naturally, we felt insecure and inadequate because we wanted to fulfil the task, but objectively didn’t know how to do it.

We said to ourselves that this is a problem we can try and solve. This motivation also came together with two other factors: our interest in education and our effort to develop the capital market in Slovakia. The result was our decision to contribute to the education of the future generation of investment professionals through the Sandberg Academy program.

What is the Sandberg Academy?

Sandberg Academy includes summer internships, lectures, but also the overall know-how that we are building at Sandberg. For example, it includes the standards that we use at Sandberg for market research, analysing companies, various hard and soft skills, as well as processes that we continuously systemise.

Let’s get back to the summer internships. Students from previous years evaluated them highly. What does the internship look like?

We structured the internship similarly to modern MBA programs. It consists of academic, practical, and social dimensions. It lasts exactly 8 weeks, during which participants experience the entire investment lifecycle – from initial analysis, research, and strategic thinking about whether to invest in something, through technical skills such as financial analysis and valuation, to synthesis in the form of creating an investment and development plan and presenting the investment opportunity to the investment committee. The interns often work on “live” investment cases.

 What do you think is the biggest benefit for the students who join the internship program?

I think (and I have feedback from the interns to support it) that it’s the immersive experience that shows them the work of an investment professional from every angle and reveals everything good and bad. They get a dose of reality but in a controlled environment and accompanied by their buddy assigned to each intern.

Students see that private equity is not just about analytical and “hard” skills but also about empathy, curiosity, interpersonal relationships, and that fundamentally it’s about working with people, not just numbers. Many don’t realize this, and it surprises them. But because we invest in medium-sized private companies, a large part of our work is indeed interacting with management and our partners in each investment.

How do you select students for the internship?

For us, motivation, curiosity, and general knowledge are important. An applicant for this internship must realize that this is not a part-time activity during the summer – this is really 8 weeks of hard work, often working on real things with real deadlines, and it should be approached with respect. The work takes place in the premises of Sandberg in Bratislava, so each applicant is expected to move to Bratislava for the summer. 

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