Robert smith

Billionaire Robert F. Smith Shares Importance of Internships Across 85 Portfolio Companies Growth, Long-Term Success

Billionaire investor, Robert F. Smith, shared how he achieves company growth and long-term success on Thursday at the 2022 Inc. 5000 Conference & Gala in Phoenix, Ariz.

Smith, founder of private equity firm, Vista Equity Partners, employs 95,000 workers across its 85 portfolio companies, according to Inc. 5000.

In a conference discussion with CEO Stephanie Mehta of Manseto Ventures, Smith stated the most important thing an organization can do is to start an internship program that can bring underrepresented people into the workforce.

As for his company, Vista Equity Partners, Inc. 5000, Smith and his team are reportedly responsible for hiring between 5,000 and 15,000 employees per year across its software business portfolios. The company’s effort has resulted in a solid infrastructure that is dedicated to recruiting and developing talent from top to bottom.

“Even a six-week summer program can allow you to get a good look at the next generation,” Smith said during the conference.

“And they can get a good look at you.”

Prospective employees take a Criteria Cognitive Aptitude Test (CCAT) examination that measures prospective hires’ ability to use new information. In addition, the prospects also take a personality test. Once hired, the new employees take a series of boot camps by the firm’s in-house consulting partner, Vista Consulting Group. The new employees learn how to incorporate the company’s best practices and principles that are only shared and kept secret with fellow Vista colleagues.

Smith added during his conversation at the conference that he credits much of his own success to a college internship with Bell Labs that focused on research and scientific development.

The internship inspired him to dedicate his efforts to training the next generation through a platform called, internXL, that brings precision, diversity, inclusion, and efficiency to the internship hiring process for top companies.

Whenever Vista Equity Partners invests in a new business, Smith says he intends to ensure that the portfolio company starts an internship program and doubles its size the following year.