Adding Value Diwesh Kumar ’24 is developing investment banking expertise at his summer internship at Boxwood Partners in Richmond, Virginia.
“I have really enjoyed the past few weeks and am honestly very excited to see what this industry has in store for me.”
~ Diwesh Kumar ’24
Name: Diwesh Kumar ’24
Hometown: Karachi, Pakistan
Q: What factors led you to choose W&L?
I did a foreign exchange program in high school sponsored by the State Department where they send students to small towns in the U.S. for cultural exchange. I was placed in Lexington and went to Rockbridge County High School for a year. That’s when I first heard about W&L. I used to hang out with my high school friends on the Colonnade and play pool in the Commons. I felt very welcomed by W&L and Lexington. When it came time to decide on a college, the memories from my exchange and the fact I have a host family I love so dearly just six miles from college made the decision very easy.
Q: Why did you choose your course of study?
I have always been the math kid growing up. I was naturally quicker at numbers than most of my peers and that only furthered my interest in the subject with time. In the past few years, I have also been attracted to the broader economic landscape of my own country and how those situations were at the forefront of many of the decisions being made around the world. After taking a few economics classes, it only made sense to do a double major in economics and math where I take the theoretical concepts from my math classes and apply those models in my economic research pursuits.
Q: How did you find out about the Johnson Opportunity Grant? Did anyone at W&L help?
Professor Elizabeth Knapp, director of the Johnson Program, and program coordinator Fiorela Giraldo Prado de Lewis have been two of my biggest supporters since I arrived on campus. I am also a Johnson Scholar, so I have been in regular contact with Professor Knapp and Fio ever since I got here. They send out regular emails to the Johnson Scholars about things like the Johnson Opportunity Grant and after I spoke with Fio about it, I decided to apply.
Q: Tell us about your internship this summer. What are you working on and what interested you about this internship program in particular?
I am doing an investment banking internship at a small sell-side bank in Richmond, Virginia, this summer. I think investment banking and finance in general is something a lot of students want to pursue. I did a lot of what everyone on campus traditionally does: join a Williams School society, talk to alums and network with people in the industry, and seek out junior-year internships to learn more about what the job is. I wanted to do an internship in this field prior to my junior year so I could have a better understanding of not just the industry but also if this is where I could see myself in the future. I decided to do this internship in Richmond where, given the small-size nature of the firm, I am given responsibilities that add real value to the firm and its clients. During this internship, I am basically tasked with all the responsibilities of a full-time analyst. I have helped create different sections of a pitch, work on different elements of a CIM, set up data rooms and models, and assist the firm in providing data-driven advice to our clients. This includes reaching out to prospective buyers and being a mediator between two parties to help the firm find the best fit for both the sell and buy sides.
Q: What do you like most about it, and what has been most challenging so far?
Since my internship, I have really come to understand and appreciate the value-add this industry provides, especially with the kind of clients my current firm usually works with: founder-owned businesses and businesses that have been with the same family for generations. Letting go of something that is such a big part of someone’s life can be a hard, life-changing decision, and helping clients make that right decision is very rewarding and fulfilling. Nonetheless, this industry is very busy. I usually work 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., sometimes even later, and that took some getting used to. However, as the summer has progressed, I am a lot closer to the people at the firm, and time goes by much faster than one would think. I have really enjoyed the past few weeks and am honestly very excited to see what this industry has in store for me.
Q: How do you think this experience will impact your future career and/or life path? What do you feel that you’ve learned about yourself?
This experience has only solidified my interest in banking. I was lucky enough to have been recruited for another banking internship next year, and after this summer, I am so much more excited for it. I really do enjoy being a part of this industry and cannot wait for next summer.
Q: What do you miss about W&L while you’ve been away?
As cliché as this might sound, the people. I got very close with a few people over the last few months, and I really miss them since school has ended. And the fact that I will be studying abroad next year only makes me sadder because I really will miss some of the connections I have made at W&L.
Q: Outside your internship, what have you enjoyed most about living in Richmond?
I think Richmond is a great place to be – it offers both the elements of a small, pretty town but also the hustle and bustle of a larger city. I have really enjoyed going around town and experiencing the nightlife this city has to offer, while also just driving around and appreciating the smaller-city vibe. It’s great for a summer location!
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