Before I started my internship with CAPA, I expected to be doing a lot of market-related research for my site supervisor’s previous company. However, plans soon changed once he sold his shares of the business to his younger brother. Starting in February, I began researching homes / guest houses / hotels in the Seychelles, a small island nation located off the coast of Africa. My supervisor informed me of his desire to build a resort-style property in order to break into the hospitality sector – – I would be responsible for researching the properties, building financial spreadsheets, contacting large venture capital firms, and reaching out to real estate agents nearby. As the work continued, he had me move to Hawaii, specifically the Maui region. It was a lot harder to find a reasonably priced piece of land here, so he decided to move one last time and settle on the Maldives. My current assignments include finding lawyers, researching tax laws, and learning the details on hiring foreign employees.
I found the knowledge of financial-related information to be the most important knowledge regarding the field of work I was doing. Factors like occupancy rate, gross revenue, asking price, average daily rate, and expected cost were very important to my site supervisor’s decision making process. I found that I was able to apply a great deal of knowledge from my finance classes to the work I was doing in this internship. Similarly, I can apply the financial work (related specifically to the hospitality sector) to any outside job / position that I may hold in the future. I found that my experience working with real estate agents also taught me how to construct a clear, concise, and straight-to-the-point email which I can certainly utilize when working in the business world.
Presenting documents, Excel files, and resort-related research to my site supervisor definitely pushed me outside of my comfort zone, especially since I wasn’t sure exactly what he was looking for. I soon learned that he was very happy with my progress — which made me more relaxed — as he found it extremely useful to his decision making process. In terms of challenges, I found it pretty difficult to figure out a way for him to secure funding. He was looking for a pretty large sum of money and most lenders didn’t do business in the Seychelles. I tried talking to many different banks and organizations that specialize in FDIs but didn’t have any success. Eventually, I had to point him in the direction of independent venture capitalists.
At the conclusion of my internship, I found my increased confidence level to have been my greatest accomplishment. I provided thorough, well-research work that my supervisor seemed genuinely happy about — in turn, I feel more confident going forward that I can perform (and hopefully exceed) the expectations of those around me. I found the whole internship to be a great experience and I’ll always appreciate the lessons that I took away from it all!