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Women in Asset Management · Christina Iliopoulos

My asset management internship: A summer of real-world experiences

Sep 8, 2023

Christina Iliopoulos

Christina Iliopoulos.

Christina Iliopoulos is an HBA/Engineering '25 candidate who recently had an opportunity to intern at CPP Investments as part of Ivey’s Women in Asset Management (WAM) program. She writes below about how the internship gave her many first experiences, including a business trip to Texas.

This summer, I had the incredible opportunity to intern at CPP Investments (CPP). Following four weeks of in-class training and a final capstone project in Ivey’s WAM program, I joined the Fundamental Investments Program at CPP as part of the Sustainable Energies Group (SEG). SEG invests in the energy transition through long-term assets such as wind, solar, upstream oil and gas, and carbon capture.

An engineering perspective

As a chemical engineering student, I wanted to consider how the technical background I gained from my classes would help better my understanding of asset management, something that still felt foreign to me.

My background was particularly beneficial when considering how others on the team would evaluate a potential opportunity. During investment committee meetings, I loved being able to listen to people’s questions and try to understand their thinking behind it. These were typically framed from a technical standpoint and then led to direct financial implications. Having the two perspectives constantly overlap was extremely valuable for me.

The intern experience

Throughout the summer, CPP interns had the opportunity to engage with the broader fund through programming such as the Speaker Series and Department Overviews. Through such programs, we had direct exposure to senior leaders and learned about how different groups work together to serve the fund mandate.

We then put this into practice through our intern case competition, where groups were tasked to explore a megatrend through the lens of a specific industry and recommend a company where the megatrend will have an outsized, durable impact. It was extremely rewarding to work with interns from across the fund and have our team finish in first place, recommending a company in the medical technologies sector, with a specific focus on artificial intelligence. What I found particularly impactful was that each group’s presentation was circulated across the fund, allowing our work to potentially contribute to future opportunities.

First deal

I first joined a deal team nearing the end of an additional fundraising round for an existing portfolio company that sits in SEG’s innovation, technology, and services vertical. As we looked to seek approval from the investment committee, I was able to learn about how different aspects of a deal come together, both internally and externally, through calls with lawyers, regulatory committees, and the portfolio company itself.

My role was to help prepare materials for the investment committee discussion, and with so many moving parts, it became clear how dynamic this process was. As new information came through, our assumptions would constantly change, which would require discussion on our outlook and respective analysis. Looking back after closing, my biggest takeaway was the importance of active communication between all parties.

First business trip

During my internship, I also worked with an oil and natural gas company. Learning about this industry was extremely interesting as it related heavily to what I explored in my engineering classes. As we were constantly communicating with management and the executive team, I was able to gain a strong understanding of the company itself and bring the granular details into the big picture when considering different opportunities.

One of my biggest highlights was attending the company’s quarterly board meeting in Texas, alongside the team I had worked closely with all summer. It was such a unique experience to connect with people across all levels of the company, see how they operate on a day-to-day basis, and consider how much goes into making a business successful on a scale that I would not have otherwise been exposed to.

I would like to thank the SEG team for providing such incredible mentorship and support throughout my internship experience. I had such a wonderful time working alongside everyone over the past three months and look forward to next summer.