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How a Do-Over Proved to be the Optimal Learning Experience

Perspective from a Zayo Intern

There’s nothing quite like learning by doing. Or doing over if need be. And Zayo’s 2018 interns had the chance to dive into business projects as part of their 10-week Zayo program, which wrapped up earlier this month. Two-thirds of the class of 41 were extended job offers contingent upon graduation. Here’s the experience of one of our Finance interns, Corrine Veal, a University of Colorado Leeds School of Business student working as a financial planning & analysis intern for the Fiber team.

By: Corrine Veal, Zayo Finance Intern

As I enter my final week as part of the formal internship program, I had the opportunity to reflect on my time at Zayo. Not only did I gain knowledge that exceeded what I learned in the classroom, I loved being a part of a cohesive and supportive team. I had the opportunities to share my goals one on one with my manager and he took the time to tailor my experience to match these goals.

A project that stuck out the most this summer was the mock board presentation. During week three, the director of finance held meetings to teach the FP&A analysts and interns about finance within Zayo. We discussed the various ways to grow EBITDA, create equity value, and refreshed on some basic accounting. On Tuesday, I, the other three finance interns, and two billing analysts were notified that we had to apply everything that we learned in these meetings and our coursework to present a mock Earnings Supplement for the quarter.

We received the slide deck first thing Wednesday morning and had to have our presentation ready by Thursday afternoon. Even though all six of us are finance or accounting majors, all of these numbers just seemed overwhelming. We spent hours upon hours playing with calculations and digging into public documents trying to understand how the numbers could tell a story about the quarter.

By Thursday afternoon, I was noticeably sweating – none of us felt prepared to present to the director of finance, our managers, and colleagues. Turns out, our presentation did not explain the story of our financials and could not answer a handful of the director’s questions.

Luckily, we had a chance to redeem ourselves the following Friday afternoon with a new deck. This also only gave us four hours to turnaround. We learned to shift our focus away from the detailed calculations and move on to the big picture: the analysis of the numbers. We discussed the lag between construction, installations, and revenue and how to determine the health of Zayo — all concepts that we missed the day before. I enjoyed applying the feedback that we received the day before coming back with a better work product.

Although this project was extremely challenging, we all learned so much about Zayo and finance that we would not have learned otherwise. At the end of this summer, I had the opportunity to work on my region’s portion of the Earnings Supplement and later sit on the meetings with the president of Fiber Solutions and other executives. Because of my prior exposure, I was engaged and understood more of the details since I already learned the big picture.

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