I am currently a first-year in a Big 4 infrastructure advisory. I've been here for a total of 5 months, and I have been thinking about the kind of life/career I want ahead. Based on my not-so-extremely-Type-A personality, slight awkwardness in social interaction, my long-term goal is to transit into in-house Treasury. (I used to worship IBD, M&A and the likes while I was in school, but once you're enlightened that the culture surrounding people in IBD/M&A is about dick size comparison and putting other people down, it loses its appeal)
The question is, how will I eventually make this transition, what skills do I highlight, what do I need to substantiate?
(Of course, if you have any suggestion of any role that is equally laidback for the most part, and quite well-paid for the amount of hours worked, I'm open too! I have hobbies which I like to sustain outside work, e.g. dance and exercise)
For my current position, the kind of work that my team does varies a lot:
- Model review (literally reviewing the mechanical aspects of the model, as well as seeing whether assumptions are well-supported by documentation e.g. where did they get the forward curve from, where is the EPC contract that shows this particular EPC cost break down and cost profile)
- Financial model build (This could be a standalone engagement by itself, but usually it is part of a larger scope of work for any of the work below. Building the financial model itself, but the specific values to use e.g. forward curve, what price to use, is provided for by the client. We only ask what structure should the input be so that we can model it accordingly - on this note: financial model building here is based one principle: the formula in the left-most cell should be flexible because all cells to the right will simply be dragged from the left-most cell.)
- PPP procurement (being the transaction advisor for public agencies - basically helping the public agency run its tender. We help to draft and run the RFQ, RFP, evaluate bidders' proposals and recommend from a financial perspective who is the preferred bidder, and the deliver the project till Financial Close. Usually, the advisory group comprises the legal advisor, the technical advisor, and the financial advisor)
- PPP bid-side advisory (if we are not being an advisor for a public agency, we can be an advisor to a private sector participant to bid for the PPP - so we'll be the one working on all the financial aspects of the proposals for the client.)
- Related to (3), we also help infrastructure companies (could be O&G, transport, utilities, etc) in equity/JV partner selection.
- Pre-feasibility study and feasibility study (identification of benefits and costs, could be economic and/or financial, just to help management make its case that the project they want to run is sustainable)
- Market entry study (we don't get this a lot, but we could take it if the client is interested. This is the typical consulting work that I'm sure you have already understood a lot about)
- Valuation audit support (yes, some people escaped audit by coming into advisory but ends up doing audit-related work. We don't get this kind of projects often, but we do get them. Occasionally Audit receives valuation models from the Client and requires support from us because Valuations think we are better in this sector. So we review the assumptions in the financial model, make sure they are well supported with documentation, independently obtain some figures and forecast on the public domain and see if the model figures look reasonable.)
- Any other work - sometimes a client trusts us a lot in the sector that they just choose us anyway.
The above pretty much summarises the work that I do.
The sub-team I am in is commercial/financial advisory. Just FYI, there's another sub-team of 5-6 people who come from an engineering background, and they serve clients who have infrastructure during its operational period, and they look at how to optimise physical asset management and optimise efficiencies in work processes as well as spending. They are somewhat like management consultants. They employ data analytics to do so.
Am I in Big 4 Corporate Finance?
My team used to be classified under Corporate Finance, but local regulations require the corporate finance entity to obtain a capital markets licence. So those teams that were in Corporate Finance and did not require the capital markets licence to continue most of their work were eventually carved out from Corporate Finance.
(Ok now that you read up until here, please also go back to re-visit my initial question at the top. Thanks!)