I didn’t need a life jacket for my VC internship, but there were plenty of waves

Ziad Srour, Summer Intern

Lessons from my summer on the rapids

Clear skies or choppy waters? Yes.

If given a choice between starting a VC internship when the investment forecast was nothing but positive optimism or murky uncertainty, which would you take? I didn’t have a choice as it turns out. Markets were volatile when I started my summer 2022 internship at McRock Capital. And in hindsight, if given the choice, I wouldn’t change a thing. Turbulent waters in an investment market make for great learning for anyone lucky enough to shadow a pro team like this one.

The only certain thing about markets from the past three years is uncertainty. Even with this, spring and early summer 2022 introduced new levels of market volatility as pandemic-recovery inflation wreaked havoc. Did some people panic? You bet. Just look at the stock market. Was that everyone’s reaction? Not even close. And thankfully I had the calm reassurance of the McRock founders to model; they gently adjusted how they were assessing portfolio companies and deal flow, but never lost sight of their vision to lead and stand apart in the competitive VC landscape. Talk about nerves of steel.

I sat in on brainstorming sessions and watched them refine their goals around the emerging opportunity in industrial software. I dug into the research effort and learned to trust the data, even in volatile markets, and how the shift to this next generation of digital technology is going to make a significant impact on the investment market for years to come.

There’s no doubt in my mind an internship with a different firm would have yielded much different results. I will take all I learned–especially how the McRock team kept a calm, cool-headed focus on the long game–and draw on these lessons as I start the next chapter of my career. Lucky me, indeed.

One last thought. It’s only fitting I finished up my term with a team-building exercise in a jet boat riding the rapids of the Niagara River. Did we get wet and bounced around a lot? Of course. Was it still a fun adventure where new bonds were forged among the team? Most definitely. Am I talking about the internship or the boat ride through the rapids? Yes.