A Week in the Life of a Harlem Capital Intern

A few thoughts before we dive into the piece. First, our Fall part-time internship application is now open until June 26. The internship will be 10 weeks from early September to mid-November. Second, we have received various questions about our new talent partnership with KKR. We are fortunate to have hundreds of diverse applicants interested in investing, but can only hire a few interns per class. We will refer competitive candidates to KKR even if we cannot hire them.

What is this?

At Harlem Capital, we leverage the best and the brightest, (our interns!), to help us accomplish our many goals. Interns are tasked with weekly deal screens, industry analysis, and key value-add projects over the course of the 10 week internship. Here is a breakdown of any given week in the life of an intern by two of our interns.

Who are the interns?

Adam McWilliams / Winter 2019 Intern / Harlem, NY / @adamgmcwilliams

Week 7:

It’s the week of President’s Day, a federal holiday, but there’s no rest for the weary. The weekly HCP Investment Committee team call will be this Monday at 8pm, this call is the lifeblood of the firm. I’ll need to give an update on the status of my value-add projects, recap my weekly intern/fellow 1–1 call, and review the current progress of due diligence for a deal I’m running with both Gabby, a fellow, and Henri, a Managing Partner.

My value-add projects include supporting Brandon, a Venture Partner, in building a content strategy for the Harlem Capital Brand. I’ve already built a tracker to serve as the process for executing content creation within the organization so I’m comfortable walking the rest of the team through on the call.

My 1–1 gets rescheduled for the following week, which tends to happen occasionally with so many high-performing individuals running around trying to check off their to-do lists. I’ll use the extra time to do some browsing and podcast-listening. It’s very helpful to stay up on the latest relevant WSJ, Pitchbook, and Crunchbase articles, or 20-minute VC episodes. We share articles and engage daily on the HCP slack to keep up to speed.

As for my deal review update, I’m focused squarely on this. I’ve been charged with owning the financials and market analysis for the company. We are pushing forward with diligence and diving deeper to determine if we’ll make an investment. We pull in Gabby as a fellow since our deal is heating up. She and I are set to review a second round of diligence ahead of the call.

On the call, the executive team has added a roundabout of “fact-of-the-week” to the agenda. I speak to a lesson in profit pools, namely how U-Haul is able to beat industry average profit margins with a differentiated strategy. I learned this from the president of sales at my company where I’m working full-time during this internship.

Overall, the call goes well. I hang-up and shift my focus back to personal/ corporate responsibilities to prep for the days ahead.

Later this week we have a broader team call on a high priority deal. I’ll be responsible for helping to prep questions, taking notes, and debriefing after the call. The call goes well and a significant amount of additional information is absorbed.

An event invite comes through the HCP network for NYC. It’s an accelerator kick off where several early stage companies give a 5-minute pitch. Each intern is tasked with sourcing two deals so I jump at the chance to attend.

By the end of the week I’m ready to have my head to head partner call to review progress and get clear on actions going forward. It’s been a long week, but money never sleeps.

Kim Patel / Spring 2019 Intern / Brooklyn, NY / @kimpatel24

Week 5:

Mid-April, the weather is amazing, which makes New Yorkers restless about spending time inside their offices. It is a Sunday and I am going over my task list for work, life and Harlem Capital. I always like to prepare before our weekly Monday call with the Partners and full team.

I get asked the question a lot, why would I take on an internship with a full-time job? Well, I was always curious about venture, what it meant to work in venture capital and source deals so I took the leap and applied to this internship.

As I am looking through my to do list, it is a combination of deal sourcing, reviewing, marketing for the fund, industry research, and making connections, because as they say “VC is a contact sport”. As an intern, I realized I could add value beyond just my ability to do work, whether that is helping source new deals or making introductions that I think may be beneficial to the firm or even helping with marketing efforts. Being a good VC means having a team that balances out all of those different skill sets, it isn’t just about the ability to make a deal.

In the last 5 weeks, I learned that lesson and have focused on understanding what it takes to raise a fund, build a strong network, and attract great talent. Well, back to my do to list, I am working on building the presentation for a company about to go to investment committee, at this point two rounds of diligence have been done and I was brought on to help it get to the finish line.

Simultaneously, I am also designing the new merchandise for the HCP, always have to represent. I have been reviewing and creating new initiatives around marketing and increasing the brand presence. Even though this is finance, in a world where anyone can be searched online in a matter of seconds, this matters. I like having the ability to learn the deal side and the operations side, fund administration is no joke and I have been able to see both sides.

I just finished my 1 on 1 with my partner on Sunday, going through my list of projects and talking about my week, the ups and downs while I prepare to head off to business school in the fall. The great thing is, I always walk away with some advice on how to handle those things especially when two of the partners just went through the process, as did half the intern class.

I set up my weekly pairing call with a fellow, and I always look forward to those. Every week we have a 1 on 1 call with another intern or fellow, and I learn so much from them. Everyone I work with is an ambitious and intelligent person just hustling through the same way I am — I am always inspired by them. It is now Monday and after listening to the partners, I make some follow up notes on questions to ask on my 1 on 1 call. For me, I hope in my lifetime I never stop learning.