The M&T Intern Fellowship Program was created over 10 years ago to help M&T students pursue internships within entrepreneurial ventures. This past summer, Christopher Lo (’19) received an Intern Fellowship award for his internship with Forefront Capital Management, co-founded by M&T alumnus Nalin Moniz (’05). Chris shared his experience with us below.
This summer I had the chance to work at Forefront Capital Management, a multi-strategy hedge fund based in Mumbai, with the support of an M&T Fellowship Award. I found out about the internship opportunity through an M&T recruiting email and, upon reading the description, decided it might be a worthwhile experience to explore finance. After applying, I was soon put in contact with Nalin Moniz (an M&T alumnus and one of Forefront’s co-founders) and went through one or two interviews. Eventually, I was thrilled to get the job, though I had a few reservations about working overseas.
After receiving my Indian visa, I was ready to head out to Mumbai. I waited in anticipation at the airport terminal, simultaneously exhilarated and nervous about the next 10 weeks. The plane landed around midnight and I headed to the office the following morning, where I got acquainted with everyone and received my project. My internship centered on investment opportunities in the Indian pharmaceutical industry, which claims the United States as its most significant and complex market. Since I had an interest in the pharmaceutical industry and had asked to work in this sphere, I was particularly excited.
We started the project by forming a working understanding of the industry by investigating the basic regulatory and commercial pathways for pharmaceutical drugs. This inspired a long list of research questions. Quickly, I realized the pharmaceutical industry involved many unforeseen layers of complexity and that we were still uncertain as to what information was significant. Gradually, over the span of a few weeks, my mentor and I found our way to an organized view. This helped us both inform new investment ideas and draw insights on potential investments. Given my inexperience in finance, I thought it was instructive to explore an investment area outside the classroom, with real objectives and practical concerns, such as dealing with uncertainty or making the most of limited data.
My summer at Forefront was a positive and flexible experience. I learned a lot from all sides of the pharmaceutical industry: from the investment side, including strategic managerial considerations, to the technological side of drug development. I thought the learning process was generalizable, and insightful for managing my time elsewhere. Financial analysis was foreign to me, but I think that has precisely expanded the way I view more familiar objects, e.g. biology research. Another highlight of learning was our weekly lecture series, in which Nalin introduced us to various investment principles, summarizing financial concepts and explaining how he viewed investing himself.
My internship at Forefront broadened my horizons and has definitely provided me with new insights to inform my career decisions. Though other interests will most likely outweigh my prospects of working in finance after graduation, I think my internship was beneficial not only as an experience at a hedge fund but also to widen my general outlook on approaching new tasks. Perhaps more importantly, I believe that the Intern Fellowship program is a unique way to strengthen the M&T community and gain a strong mentorship experience from alumni. For this, I cannot express enough appreciation for the support of the M&T Program.
Christopher Lo is a bioengineering major concentrating in startictics and a member of the Class of 2019. After graduation, he plans to pursue medicine. Of the M&T Progarm he said, “I appreciate the diversity of interests and experiences among the highly driven individuals in the M&T, especially due to the interdisciplinary insights that come from a wide breadth of knowledge. My favorite thing about Program is simply hearing about new ideas in everyday conversation and learning how other M&Ts connect the dots.”