Because I was unable to start my blog until early July, I am writing my mid-program review a little bit later during my experience. However, my experiences now are similar to how I felt at the mid-point of my time in Chile. Reflecting upon my initial arrival in Chile, I now realize how incredibly naïve I was of the business environment of Chile and how it would compare to the United States. My initial thought was that there would be a more relaxed feel to the financial industry in Chile compared to the major markets such as New York City. I believed that Santiago would be more under-developed and thus lack the sophistication and efficiency which is the backbone of the American economy. However, in reality, they are almost exactly the same. As an emerging market, the Chilean finance industry is moving at a rapid pace, trying to modernize its economic system and mirror those of the United States and other developed countries. The growth of the country, especially the city of Santiago, makes me understand that South America will have a huge role in the world for generations to come.
Similar to the US, the Chilean financial industry has adopted equity valuation practices that use a wide variety of information to publish thoroughly analyzed and comprehensive reports. From day 1, I was responsible for the valuation of a Chilean company that was soon to be undergoing its initial public offer to the world. Hortifrut, with its partners, is the number one producer of blueberries in the world and number 2 in total berries in the entire world. My bank, Banco Penta, was the underwriter responsible for leading this IPO. Being part of the 3 person research team on this project was a huge responsibility for me because it was the first time in the young bank’s history that they had been an underwriter for a company. The date for the opening to the world markets was July 11th, and it was a very successful endeavor for the company. As the underwriter, our bank is not allowed to release our research until a month after the IPO, so we are still currently writing the research report and will be releasing it sometime in early August. Having this responsibility as an intern is so far my proudest moment during this whole program and has made the experience with Intrax completely worth my time and money.
Working within my department in the bank has just been a wonderful experience. I work within the local equity research department, which values Chilean companies and distributes these reports throughout the world. My coworkers, and especially my boss, have consistently made me feel as though I am a part of the team. They have overlooked my occasional lack of language comprehension and have consistently helped me learn and adapt to the culture. Having performed previous internships in the past, I know that nothing is more frustrating than not being given the opportunity to work at your full potential. I have never felt that in my time at Penta; my opinion is always highly respected as well as my ability to speak English as a native language. By far the best internship I have had!
Similarly, I have really felt welcomed by the city of Santiago and the country of Chile. In my traveling experiences, I have come to realize that there is a lot of anti-American sentiment in the world, some of it justified and the majority of it not. However, in this country, I have experienced the least amount of anti-American experience that I have in my whole life outside of the US. In fact, I would say that opposite; people are almost fascinated and enthralled by my "American-ness". I will consistently get stared at when I take the metro or talk Spanish in my heavy American accent. I will be randomly approached by strangers who want to know where I am from and practice their English with me. Very few times have I felt any animosity towards me, for which I am very thankful to the extremely hospitable Chilean people!
I truly am excited for what is to come for the rest of my program in Santiago. In the upcoming weeks I will be working on further developing the valuation models of Hortifrut and helping with the English translations of reports that they distribute to the United States. I have truly fallen in love with Chile and I plan to explore the possibility of moving down here to work, as I have already graduated from Wake Forest. The opportunities are endless and my appreciation of the culture grows every day! Now it’s time to take advantage of all the opportunities that I will have my last few weeks here.