Through the 10,000 Black Interns programme, Tia Archer spent a summer with Puma, and here she shares what the experience meant to her.

Transitioning from a lecture theatre to the corporate world is a significant journey where theoretical concepts meet real-world application, offering a new dimension of learning. My recent 6-week internship at Puma Investments has been truly transformative, providing me with a comprehensive view of the dynamic financial industry.

My journey at Puma Investments began within the Marketing Department, which was timed impeccably as the company was in the midst of a rebranding initiative. I had the privilege to engage with Meg, the Director of Marketing, whose busy schedule did not deter her from generously sharing her time and knowledge to address my questions. Through her visionary perspective on the essence of the Puma Capital Group, I witnessed how financial products can be transformed into relatable narratives that resonate with clients. A standout experience during my time in marketing was planning an exhibition stand for an upcoming conference. This hands-on role deepened my appreciation for the pivotal role marketing plays in connecting client engagement with strategic branding.

Transitioning to Puma Property Finance for the next phase of my internship marked a shift from Marketing to the intricate world of Real Estate. My initial week on this rotation involved close collaboration with the Legal Team, an aspect that both intrigued and initially daunted me.

I had the opportunity to review and draft various legal documents, and my initial attempt at drafting was -admittedly- a disaster. However, the patience and guidance of colleagues like Tamrynne empowered me to navigate the complexities of legal document creation. The comprehensive feedback and numerous opportunities for improvement were instrumental in my growth. Eventually, I succeeded in producing a final draft that even I could take pride in.

Subsequent weeks with the PPF Investment Team exposed me to the strategic aspects of finance. Underpinning financial decisions with meticulous analysis, from preparing drawdowns to crafting indicative term sheets, highlighted the intersection between detailed scrutiny and astute investment choices. Louise’s mentorship and hands-on approach moulded my comprehension of real estate dynamics and investment strategies. Her guidance was a profound takeaway; she spent hours sculpting my understanding of Property Finance and made me feel giddy about Excel spreadsheets.

Beyond the technical learning, my time at Puma Investments was enriched by the culture of collaboration. Jono’s genuine interest in my growth set the tone from day one. Our initial discussions led to a series of well-coordinated meetings that provided me with insightful interactions with professionals across diverse domains. Conversations with teams in Business Development, Listed Equities, Private Equity, Sales, People, and Investment Services highlighted the interconnected nature of the various aspects of finance. Each discussion emphasised how passionate everyone is about their individual craft and expertise, and I witnessed first-hand how Puma had accomplished the firm’s reputation for excellence.

Reflecting on my time at Puma Investments, I acknowledge that this internship encompassed more than acquiring work experience. It emphasised the importance of embracing challenges, nurturing creativity, and evolving into a well-rounded professional.

As I take my next steps in the professional world, I carry not only newfound skills but also a deep understanding of collaboration, adaptability, and perseverance. I extend my gratitude to the exceptional individuals who made this experience remarkable – from Cara, Ivy, Sasha, Jono, Cora, Meg, Charlie, Erica, Bela, Tam, Louise, Chris, Renee, Michelle, Toba, and countless others whose interactions were both insightful and memorable.

Puma Investments will forever hold a special place in my journey, where learning was accompanied by warmth, and growth was fuelled by gratitude.