This Monday before Thanksgiving we feature Chris Doughty who was thankful for his internship with Arboretum Ventures, a venture capital firm specializing in the health care sector. Below, Doughty explains his experience in the venture capital world that he wants to someday rejoin.
1. What were your core responsibilities for the internship?
At Arboretum Ventures I was responsible for evaluating potential investment opportunities, for identifying potential future investment opportunities by finding researchers and entrepreneurs in the Ann Arbor area working on interesting technologies, and for staying up to date on the progress of the firm’s portfolio companies.
2. Were there courses you took through the U-M or programs offered through Zell Lurie that helped you develop skills applied during your internship?
My involvement in the Zell Lurie Commercialization Fund provided me with a strong foundational understanding of the venture capital industry, which allowed me to hit the ground running during my internship.
3. What were the biggest contributions you made to the company during your time there?
I think the biggest contribution I made during my time at Arboretum Ventures was a combination of my involvement in the investment evaluation process and my role in identifying a pipeline of potential future investments based here in Ann Arbor. I believe the firm benefited from adding a fresh perspective to their investment evaluation process and my work on a couple of the potential deals helped drive the decision making process. Additionally, I developed a relationship with the Biointerfaces Institute, which is a collaboration of local engineering and medical school researchers who work together with the goal of solving major issues facing the healthcare industry. I believe this group of individuals will be the engine behind many of Arboretum Ventures future investments.
4. Would you recommend these types of internships as a good avenue for students to pursue to augment their business education vs. those within a corporate or traditional banking firm?
I think the ZLI internships are exceptional opportunities for students interested in non-traditional careers. Without the support of ZLI, I never would have had the chance to join a venture capital firm as a member of their investment team at this point in my career. The unique experience has been a great talking point during interviews and has given me exposure to an industry I hope to someday rejoin.
5. What is your advice of how to get the most out of the internship?
Ask a lot of questions. Ask for feedback. Take on as much as possible, but make sure you can do a great job on everything. If you commit yourself to the role, view it as a learning opportunity and place yourself outside of your comfort zone. You’ll gain more from the ZLI internship than you would from a more traditional opportunity.