To start, can you briefly describe your internship experience?
CG: Absolutely. It was definitely the best PE internship experience that I’ve had. I’ve worked on other venture capital and private equity projects, and I had the widest array of experiences here at Cicero. That was kind of surprising going into it because I knew that Cicero Partners was a smaller engagement and operation, but I really got to see all aspects of the process. There are a lot of different steps in private equity—deal-sourcing, due diligence, financial modeling, site visits—and I got to do the full range.
Were you only working on one project?
CG: We were looking to invest in several different companies. On a day to day basis, I was looking into three or four companies, doing various stages of the due diligence process. For some I would be doing market research, for others I would be meeting with the business owners, and for others I would be doing financial analyses.
And who did you work with? Who was on your team?
CG: I primarily worked with the director of the PE fund, who had prior experience in investment banking and private equity. He was a great mentor and helped me dive deeper into financial analysis and due diligence. He could give great, well-seasoned advice like, “Hey, to calculate that you might want to take this approach instead.” I already had a solid background, but he was valuable in helping me build advanced analytical skills.
What was your background before coming to Cicero?
CG: When I started the internship, I was an undergrad at the University of Utah studying Finance. Finance has been my primarily background. I have worked in mergers and acquisitions, at other venture capital funds, and with start-ups, so I had financial analysis experience. Those foundations really helped me to be a good private equity intern, and to then go right into the consulting.
So you graduated in December of 2016 and joined Cicero full-time a month later. Did you know that you wanted to pursue consulting before the internship?
CG: I was originally looking at more of a traditional finance role, but towards the end of my college career I came to the realization that consulting was a natural fit for me (my friends and wife like to tease me because I talk in bullet points and always talk about how to be more efficient). In my senior year, I started participating in consulting competitions and that got me the experience I needed to make the decision that consulting was the right field for me.
You’ve been at Cicero for almost four months now. Tell me about your experience so far. What has it been like?
CG: I love it here at Cicero. During our FORVM* today, I was thinking to myself “Wow, this is an amazing company. How lucky am I?”
*Every Friday, Cicero employees gather for lunch and a presentation on some aspect of the company’s work.
CG: I loved the internship because I got the private equity experience that I wanted and was passionate about, but it led to a new space. Being here has helped me learn how to leverage the skills I have and to improve on them. The two biggest draws to me about Cicero were first, the culture. From the first interview I had, I realized that Cicero was different and I wanted to be a part of that. Second, the focus on data. I have always wanted to become more analytical and make data-driven decisions, and so I’m excited that Cicero is helping me reach that goal.
Last question: what project are you currently working on?
CG: My team is working for a consumer finance company that helps its customers improve their financial history. It’s a four-month long engagement where Monday through Thursday we’re working inside of their offices with their marketing department to identify new segments of consumers that might be interested in their product. Then, we’re running pilot programs with targeted messaging toward those segments in the most appropriate channels and developing a long-term marketing strategy.