internship program

Discover if searchis right for you.

Want a taste of life as a CEO? Spend a summer working side by side with a searcher CEO in one of our operating companies.

Our internship matching program connects MBA students with high-performing search fund CEOs.

Interns will gain meaningful operational experience in a rapidly growing business, along with mentorship from search fund CEOs and the Pacific Lake team. Many interns will choose to then raise a search fund after graduation.

The program helps interns fulfill three key objectives:


Test your personal hypothesis

From our experience, match matters. Leaders on our team will work to find the company experience that will best help you experience and test what matters in making your decision to search.


Learn valuable tactics for success

Our CEOs are excited to provide 1:1 coaching over the summer - and become long-term mentors. Our Summer Intern Retreat and webinars provide helpful tools and tactics on how to succeed as both a searcher and operator.


Build a community

This is the largest internship program in the search world. Connect with leaders in ETA across campuses, other CEOs, and members of the Pacific Lake community - they'll be valuable resources as you prepare to launch your search.

Kelsey Holland
"I felt perfectly matched with Elise – I was looking for a newer CEO who had acquired a software business. She was hugely helpful to me during the internship in sharing how she approached her second year of business school, how she thought about thesis creation and cap table formation, and the pros and cons of acquiring a “search fund” company versus launching your own startup. She included me in virtually all of her meetings, which allowed me to see first-hand the highs and lows of becoming a new CEO and integrating oneself into a preexisting culture."
Albert Kim
Radiation Detection Company
"I have immense gratitude for the Pacific Lake Summer Internship program. The experience reinforced my conviction to search and helped solidify relationships with others in the search community. Aside from RDC sharing characteristics with the kind of business I was interested in acquiring, I attribute my incredible summer experience to a highly tailored and personal intern-CEO matching process. Ryan has continued to mentor me since the summer internship and will continue to mentor me as I search for and operate a business."
internship program

How to apply

December 2024 - Review the opportunities

In early December, we will share the list of search fund operating companies sponsoring internships for the 2025 summer. Potential internship opportunities exist across a spectrum of industries and locations (with remote and in-person opportunities available).

December 2024 - Complete the survey

Following your review of the opportunities, complete the survey and indicate your top three initial company preferences.

January 2025 - We'll be in touch

We'll review applications on a rolling basis, beginning with first round interviews with the Pacific Lake team, and followed by a matching process that connects you with a great CEO. These companies and CEOs are selected based on the preferences indicated in your application, and we will work directly with you to find an exciting and educational internship opportunity.

Frequently asked questions

For what profile of MBA student are internships appropriate?

Internships are meant to provide MBA students the opportunity to learn about the small business leadership career path. While primarily intended for those students contemplating raising a search fund following graduation, the experience can also be helpful for those considering Pacific Lake’s Executive Leadership Program or those who may search following their two-year payback period to an employer that sponsored their MBA.

Are internships paid?

Yes. While precise compensation terms are decided by each CEO, we have recommended that companies standardize intern salaries around the mean MBA intern salaries as published by HBS and Stanford GSB. Some businesses may also choose to take advantage of summer matching funds for entrepreneurial experiences offered by your school as a portion of your compensation. When this is the case, you will help the company apply for those funds directly.

How does the matching work?

You will first interview with a member of the Pacific Lake team to understand what's most important to you. We will work to make a 1:1 match between you and a CEO that will maximize your ability to get your most important questions answered about the search fund path. In some situations, candidates may meet with several CEOs to find the perfect match. Our goal is to tailor the experience as well as possible to your objectives and questions.

How should I think about what to optimize for?

We recommend students think about what hypotheses they are most eager to test for the summer as they plan their preferences. For example, one might come from a non-operating background and be excited to work with a CEO who came from a similar pre-MBA experience so you can understand what their learning curve looked like. Another may have a hypothesis that they want to run a business in a particular industry, so testing that might be their top priority. Others may have family restrictions that make it harder to move for a 10-week period, or they may care most about getting exposure to a certain function that’s new to them (e.g., sales). Letting us know what you are thinking about your priority set will help us craft the best summer opportunity for you.

Need more info?

If you already know you're excited about a great summer internship match ahead of the application process, reach out to Hannah Barrett to learn more.