Rochan Bakthisaran is a second-year accounting student at Guilford College, a small liberal arts college in Greensboro, NC. He became interested in finance and investing through his father and proactively researched investment management firms in North Carolina, which led him to Verger. As he researched internship opportunities, he noted that “the combination of a non-profit client focus along with the opportunity to work with different types of asset managers, including hedge funds and private equity, really made Verger stand out.” In his free time Rochan enjoys playing chess, watching stand-up comedy on Netflix, and playing basketball with his friends.
Rochan interned with us from summer through fall of 2020, representing part of the first class of “virtual” interns during the COVID-19 pandemic. He was enthusiastic, hardworking, and up for all the challenges thrown his way. We are delighted to feature him as part of our ongoing Intern Spotlight Q&A series.
How has your view of asset management changed from when you started your internship to now?
I never realized how big the social factor comes into play when making investment decisions. The Verger team views its investments as a partnership, and it is important to assess fund managers’ returns, but also fit with the firm’s values for a long-term partnership. I was especially surprised on the ESG front, which was an important consideration for Verger and was brought up a lot by many investment candidates. The experience has opened my eyes to the importance of social considerations when allocating funds, whether on the personal or business level.
What have you learned about workplace culture that you will take to you next experience?
One of the main things that was emphasized to me by the Verger team was to always feel free to ask questions. Everyone on the Verger team was very happy to help out and even enjoyed taking on a mentoring role. I definitely felt more comfortable seeking advice because of the very flat hierarchy and familial culture at Verger, and I’ll try to take the inquisitive mindset I developed to my next experiences.
What part of Endowment and Foundation asset management did you find most compelling?
I enjoyed getting exposure to all sorts of investment strategies across industries and investment vehicles. The field of finance and investing is so broad, so the chance to help build a diverse portfolio of funds was very valuable. I learned a lot speaking and hearing not only from the team within Verger, but also the prospective investment managers that pitched to Verger.
What was your favorite project you worked on?
I was part of a private equity valuation project, which I found unique and engaging. I used Excel to pull cash flow information from certain private equity firm’s historical company investments and sales. I organized the data from a multitude of sources which took quite a bit of time, but it was an interesting project and I learned a new method of valuation. I also found it rewarding to be able to contribute to the team.
For more information regarding Verger's internship program, visit our Careers page.