St. Cloud Intern Reflection, Spring/Summer 2020

For many service members, the transition from active military service to the civilian sector is extremely daunting and stressful.  As an active U.S. Army Officer, I can attest to this and have found my transition period to be a moment to moment battle.  However, since I began interning for St. Cloud Capital my path has become clearer and I feel ready to take on the many future challenges that await me.  Prior to joining the team at St. Cloud, I served five years in the U.S. Army of which four were spent at The National Training Center in Fort Irwin, California.  There I led combat soldiers in all manners of armored and reconnaissance warfare, assisted and advised two Commanding General Officers as an aide-de-camp, and coordinated public relations for the post directed towards General Officers, Congressmen, Foreign Dignitaries, and other distinguished visitors.  Needless to say, debt and equity financing were not a part of my professional experience prior to this internship.  Despite this and joining the team amidst the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis in the United States, St. Cloud never hesitated to utilize me throughout all stages of the private credit underwriting process.  These activities included deal sourcing, industry research, due diligence analysis, transaction structuring, underwriting, and investment memo writing.  St. Cloud is a flat and transparent firm that goes all in for its interns.  Consequently, my experiences with the firm have undoubtedly prepared me to excel at my transition into a career in finance.

Primarily, I assisted the vice presidents with the stages I outlined earlier and I will highlight two transactions that I allocated the majority of my time towards.  The first being an M&A deal within the healthcare industry.  While the transaction is ongoing, I learned more than I ever thought possible regarding healthcare business models, healthcare public policy, public equity markets, and deal processing.  Working alongside Brian Chow throughout the due diligence process provided constant discussion, learning opportunities, and mentorship which has proven to be invaluable.  This deal will serve as the cornerstone for future interview conversations once the recruiting season begins.  The second was the opportunity to advise and coordinate with a CEO of a portfolio company which resulted in the creation of a new business vertical within the Department of the Army currently under development.  I was tasked by Kacy Rozelle, one of the partners, to match my prior experience and personal network with the portfolio company to help create a new line of business for it.  Under fellow Army Veteran Matt Smith’s supervision, I learned how to independently develop a relationship with a client, identify and analyze their needs, and custom tailor a solution.  This experience gave me a glimpse into the more senior skill set of finance professionals that goes beyond the quantitative and one that will be necessary for building a successful long-term career.  In addition to these two deals, I was exposed to more than two dozen other transactions that varied widely by industry, business model, leadership team composition, and deal terms.  Each provided its own set of lessons learned and discussions with every member of the firm.

I am the first Veteran to intern for St. Cloud Capital and I suspect that I will not be the last.  My deal experiences accented by the mentorship, one-on-one learning, and autonomy makes this an ideal opportunity for Veterans to assimilate into the civilian sector.  This internship has single handedly positioned me for limitless future opportunities within the finance industry.  Beginning this fall, I will be matriculating into Boston College’s Carroll Graduate School of Management where I will be a candidate for a Master of Business Administration and Master of Science in Finance.  In addition to beginning my graduate degree programs, I am actively seeking a summer 2021 internship with investment banks, private equity firms, and hedge funds.  I want to thank the entire St. Cloud team and extend a special thank you to Ben Hom for the offer to intern and being an incredibly gracious mentor.

Captain Christopher Collar, U.S. Army Armor Officer