OPIC assists U.S. companies by providing political risk insurance and debt financing for infrastructure projects, bank loans, and private equity investments.

Programs - Career
Tuck GIVES Internship:

Betsy Nesbitt T’11
Overseas Private Investment Corporation
Washington, D.C.

The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) is an independent U.S. government agency. Its mission is to mobilize and facilitate U.S. private capital and skills in the economic and social growth of less developed countries as they transition from nonmarket to market economies. OPIC assists U.S. companies by providing political risk insurance and debt financing for infrastructure projects, bank loans, and private equity investments. The agency complements the private sector in managing risks associated with foreign direct investment. OPIC was initially housed in the U.S. State Department and became independent in 1971. It is currently working in over 150 countries. 

I interned with the Capital Markets Group, the team responsible for issuing OPIC bonds and raising debt financing on the U.S. public markets. The Capital Markets Group partners with investment banks, such as JP Morgan and Bank of America, to issue bonds backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government. I participated in the issuance of four new deals, ranging in size from $7 to $85 million. I most enjoyed working with the investment banks and international finance projects to price the bonds. Conversations with Wall Street bankers gave me perspective on the U.S. macro economy and the aftermath of the financial crisis, which is being manifested by historically low interest rates. In addition to helping with new debt issuance, I analyzed loan portfolio borrowing costs and helped our corporate and private equity clients understand the costs and benefits of different financing opportunities. 

I leave the summer with both technical financial skills and a more sophisticated perspective on management, organizational behavior, and corporate culture. OPIC is not motivated by quarterly earnings or industry competition, and I observed that deals were driven by both financial and social goals. However, despite the agency’s explicit goal to enhance the economic and social well being of less developed countries, OPIC is grappling with the challenge of marketing their social impact and optimizing their role within the community of development finance institutions. I’m grateful for the opportunity to work with the public sector, and I return to Tuck with a heightened understanding of what differentiates and drives for-profit businesses.