Nicole Lui is one of Ribit’s very first “Finterns”, having attended the inaugural “Fintern Fever” at Stone and Chalk in December 2015. She had recently completed an internship in investment banking and was in the final year of a Bachelor of Commerce at UNSW.
“I was looking for something different. I’d always wanted a chance to get involved in the startup world, and this seemed like a really fun way in.”
“The speed dating concept of the night was really different from the traditional recruitment process. There was a great energy in the room, and everything was so fast-paced. There wasn’t really time to get nervous, you just let go and gave it your best shot.”
“You have a chance to show the best aspects of your personality and skills, to really shine. Prospective employers will find out a lot more from meeting you face to face for a few minutes than looking at a resume on their desk.”
Nicole was taken on at Australian corporate venture firm, reinventure, after attending Fintern Fever and went onto work for them permanently, staying with the firm for more than a year.
Reinventure has more than $100M in committed funds, of which Westpac is the largest investor, to help innovative and disruptive businesses within the technology space to grow.
During her time there, Nicole worked as both an analyst, ensuring due diligence was carried out on prospective portfolio companies, and as an ongoing client support manager, helping their portfolio companies to succeed.
She thinks that taking the opportunity to work while studying is really important.
“Personally, I loved my getting hands dirty. While I also loved university and the theory of what I was studying, working allowed me to actually see the theory applied in a real-life context.”
“You also get to learn a heap of soft skills, such as communication, teamwork, and have the chance to build relationships with people in your field.”
What else did she learn specially from the internship at reinventure?
“I learnt a lot about new technologies, for instance AI, self-driving cars and softchain. I learnt how hard it is to be successful as a startup and how hard founders have to work. I also realised how important it is these days to deliver data-driven and customer-specific, real-time and personalised products to your customers.”
“I think also, subconsciously perhaps, it definitely changed where I was heading in my career. I was planning to go into banking but I found venture capital really interesting. In fact, by working with startups, I also found this was where my passion was.
Nicole has since left reinventure and is currently carving a career out for herself as a management consultant.
“I’m currently working at McKinsey and Co in management consulting. I get to use the skills I learned both at university and in my internships to help companies with the challenges they face, helping them to solve their business problems.”
Where does she see her career heading long term?
“I would love to work overseas, perhaps in San Francisco. The internship at reinventure really confirmed by passion for startups. So perhaps the startup sector, but I also really enjoy venture capital and love management consulting. So I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.”
And what advice would she give to current students considering taking on an internship?
“To take more risks and be bold while you’re young. You’ve got a lot less to lose. Be open to new experiences and the possibility of changing course completely.”