Internship Experience: Sam Moise, Finance Transformation Intern at Sony Pictures Entertainment

In this “Internship Experience” blog post series, we will be featuring the profile and thoughts of our students from Syracuse University’s Martin J. Whitman School of Management as they return from summer internships.

Name: Sam Moise
Graduation Year: May 2020
Major(s): Finance
Minor(s): Economics / Information Management and Technology
Hometown: Irvine, CA
Intern Company/Title: Sony Pictures Entertainment – Finance Transformation Intern

Describe your position and some of your daily tasks?
I was a member of the Finance Transformation team at Sony Pictures Entertainment. I worked on a project to improve the working capital position of Sony Pictures. Specifically, in my role, I analyzed accounts payable and looked for areas of optimization for vendor payments. Day-to-day I would work on creating models to forecast the impact of changes in policy, brainstorm with members of the team on downstream impacts of various recommendations, and meet with leaders of other departments to outline their roles in a transformation of Sony’s AP processes.

How did you land your internship?
I knew of Sony from meeting an alum who worked there and was visiting campus. They knew of several other Syracuse University alumni at Sony and encouraged me to apply for an internship. After the initial human resources screening, I met with my soon-to-be manager and was extended an offer following our interview.

What did you learn from your internship experience?
I learned about the inner workings of a large company, how to interact with upper management across departments, and many other valuable business skills. However, the learning that stands out most is that even at large companies (where I had expected every process to be efficient and smooth) there is always room for improvement and optimization. 

Has your experience changed your plans or career choice when you leave college?
Yes, I had originally planned on going into equity research or a similar finance-based role. However, after this experience in a consulting-type role, I figured out that I enjoy the challenges of implementing unique projects on an international scale. This role gives new college graduates exposure to high-level members of an organization, as well as the ability to think through challenges and problems alongside these business leaders.

How will your internship experience help you after graduation?
Due to the positive experience with Sony, they extended me an offer to join them after graduation, which I was excite to accept. 

How has the Whitman School prepared you for your internship?Without Whitman, I doubt I would have gotten this internship, let alone, the accompanying job offer. Much of my role involved understanding complex accounting principles as well as being able to manipulate large data sets with Excel and create presentation materials. For example, the metric of Days Payable Outstanding is widely used but doesn’t apply to the entertainment industry, so we had to create a new metric to measure progress. Thinking through difficult accounting problems in my classes at Whitman prepared me to come up with a new metric and back test it to prove its validity. After completing my analysis and circulating a recommendation with upper management, my manager and I met with the CFO and I presented our findings as well as our recommendations. I would not have had the confidence to present in such a setting without the practice of giving presentations in many of my Whitman classes.

What did you enjoy most about your experience?
I most enjoyed being challenged and having to think through new and complex issues. This was an issue that no one had looked at before, so we had to work with the SAP team to build new reports and create views and metrics that are unique. The highlight of the internship was our meeting with the CFO and seeing our recommendations become his KPIs for the next quarter. I felt that I made an impact on the financial well-being of a very large company, even as an intern.

Do you have any advice to students who are looking for an internship?
I would take my time with each application. It’s tempting to just apply to 100 jobs and hope you hear back from a couple, but if you customize your resume and cover letter to each posting, you’ll hear back from a larger percentage and it will limit you to applying to places you want to work. This also helped me answer the common interview question, “Why do you want to intern here?” I had a valid reason because I spent so much time on each application; I was truly interested in each company, since I just didn’t have the time to apply for internships I didn’t want.

Kimmy Kimball