Winter 2019 Intern Challenge Winner: Libra InternConnect
New York, May 6, 2019 – As part of the Libra Internship Program (LIP), our winter 2019 interns participated in the Intern Challenge competition. In small groups, interns developed an innovative idea and proposal that could contribute to Libra in some way. The project pushed interns out of their comfort zone and allowed them to showcase their entrepreneurial skills. Ideas ranged from innovative communications strategies to new social responsibility initiatives. Over sixteen weeks, intern teams submitted a written proposal and participated in an oral presentation, judged by a committee of Libra employees. Two finalists were then selected to take part in a second round of presentations. The winners were teammates, Daniel Eduardo Serpa Perez, Libra People Operations intern, and Daniel Porras Reyes, a Libra Capital Investments intern, placed in New York, NY. They discuss more about their background and winning proposal, Libra InternConnect, below.
Tell us a little bit about yourselves.
We are both named Daniel, and we both study business administration. We attend the same university in Colombia, which is usually a good ice breaker in any conversation.
Daniel Porras: I am a Finance Intern at Libra Capital where I work with my mentor, Steven Brooks. In my free time, I enjoy reading, watching soccer and spending time with my friends. I currently have a startup called Monedero which I will work on after the internship.
Daniel Serpa: I am a People Operations Intern at Libra Group, where I work with my mentor, Jenna Erickson. I am 24 years-old. My interests are in international business and finance. My passion is music; I play guitar and drums and am also interested in music production. In my free time, I also like to watch sports, mostly football, basketball and soccer.
How did you come up with your idea?
During orientation week, we connected with many of the interns in our cohort. However, Libra is a global company, and interns are placed around the world. After a couple weeks, we felt that we had lost some connection with our peers placed in other locations. We wanted to know if this was something that was a common theme, so we surveyed the entire cohort and found this to be a recurring issue. With this information, we remembered an orientation teambuilding activity in which we had lunch with another intern who we had not talked to much. From this, we came up with Libra InternConnect, our idea for the Intern Challenge. Libra InternConnect is a way of communicating with fellow interns and intern alumni across time zones to create more learning opportunities, streamline workflow and build a stronger sense of community.
How does your idea align with Libra values?
Our proposal presented a way to build a better sense of community among interns, where there are more opportunities for shared learning and support. We felt that creating a more cohesive community within the cohort would not only benefit the interns but also the broader Libra family and alumni network of the Libra Internship Program. We believe that this idea strengthens Libra’s commitment to family values and fosters a culture for support amongst interns.
What did you learn from the experience?
Having a complex idea is not necessarily better. We presented a simple proposal which had high chances of being implemented without a heavy lift, but at the same time could bring a lot of benefits for the program.
How did you prepare for presenting in front of Libra employee judges?
Since we both come from a finance and business background, we applied the skills learned during our studies to prepare for the presentation. We practiced together several times before the presentation to make sure we were ready and knew what to say. We were both confident and passionate about what we were presenting, which made it easier for us.
What did you find most challenging about the project?
Initially we presented a different idea. For several reasons the project was no longer viable, so we had to adapt and re-think a new project. This time we had a time constraints that forced us to work harder as the deadline was approaching. However, this is one of the values that an intern should have, which is adaptability. In the end we ended up feeling happier with this proposal as it was a issue which directly affected us, and we knew a solution could be implemented.
What advice would you give future intern cohorts for preparing for this project?
Pick a project you personally care about and affects you directly. Also, don’t choose a project because you would think it will make you win, but rather do something you will enjoy working on. This will make both the process enjoyable and will probably lead to a better outcome. Also structure your project well. It is important to identify a problem (ideally with data to back it up), justify why it is an issue and the missed opportunities it generates. Lastly, you should present a solution and the benefits it could bring and show how it can be implemented and measured.
Congratulations on your winning project, Daniel & Daniel!