M&A consultant AMA

sameerkal's picture
Rank: Monkey | 65

Hi all can see there is very little information about the M&A consulting industry on here so happy to do an AMA.

please note all information I have relates to the european market, USA may be different

Comments (22)

Feb 16, 2019

do you do Commercial due diligences?

What kind of consulting do you do in M&A? IT, HR? would you rather be on the M&A side in banking?

Feb 16, 2019

I'm more on the operations side but have done some IT as well. No CDDs.

My team does a wide range of jobs e.g. synergy analysis to day one planning to large scale integrations / separations.

As for the banking - no. I did an M&A banking internship and didn't particularly like it

Feb 18, 2019

What do you do in your typical week? What is the difference beetween M&A in banking?

Thank you in advanceeee

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Most Helpful
Feb 18, 2019

Typical week varies wildly from deal to deal, right now i'm on a post deal project so my week is something like:

Get up and either get on a plane to the client site / stay at the office as the client is in workshops of their own etc this week. We're trying to keep it to only 2/3 days a week at client site in this deal so it's quite relaxed as and when we go.
For my workstream we have three key areas to deliver on so a typical week is divided between.

1) Producing decks to review with the business unit leads / my partner before I take to review with the leads
2) Sitting in those review meetings and sitting in on calls with my wider team (other workstreams)
3) Sitting on calls with other consultants (the IT guys, Strategy guys etc)

As this is regarding the future state of their business after the integration a lot of the day is wasted by infighting and politics as each lead tries to prove their dick is bigger than their new equivalents.

For a pre deal project you spend a lot of time with your client and depending if you're on:

Buyside - Try and make sense of the dataroom documents and assess potential synergies and diligence the sell sides documents

Sellside - Write the sellside document and for a carve out of a company advise on how best to separate the company from the parent whilst taking them through the process / write a document that is meant to objectively show a buyer the operational state of the company being sold (e.g standalone costs, stranded costs etc).

in terms of how it's different from banking - banks look at financials and high level operations. We give them a lot of inputs to put into their model and then they do the financial magic from there. The work in banking actually was fairly interesting but from my experience I didn't like the culture and in my current job I love the culture and enjoy the operations more so than I did the financial, I also think i'm better suited to operations than finance.

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Feb 18, 2019

Thanks for doing this. Is your function the typical weekly travel? Are all M&A Consulting gigs the typical consulting travel?


Feb 19, 2019

100% depends on the engagement, pre deal is often in project rooms at our office with occasional client trips / calls to talk and see their operations in person. Post deal is almost 100% at the client M - T

Feb 20, 2019

What does this break down to on a "typical" month? Do you spend 1-2 weeks full travel mode on client site? Or is it more / less? I'm trying to figure out if the lifestyle is something palatable for me. M&A Consulting is of interest, but I'm not willing to do the full M-T travel every week.


Feb 18, 2019

Sounds very interesting. Thanks for doing this. I just have three questions:
1. Is the exit opportunity - more like head of portfolio operations at KKR/ Blackstone?
2. If you were not thinking of exiting, do you feel that your long term goal would be to get on the partner track?
3. And it is true that some consulting firms (I know law firms do), to convince senior people to move to emerging/ not so exciting market, they are willing to accelerate the partner track?

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Feb 19, 2019

No problem!

1) Yes that is an exit opportunity for our those higher up in our team at the junior - mid ranks the exit opportunities are IB at a decent but not elite boutique or senior for the age level corporate positions.

2) I really love my job but from early stage observations I don't believe I want to be a partner. A lot of our partners are extremely impressive e.g. partner in 10 - 12 years from undergrad consulting or extremely senior in f500 level companies to partner. The others are a mix of consulting - industry - consulting and worked their way up or some mix but the one thing they all have in common is they adore their jobs (atleast from what I can see) and i'm not sure if I will really have that passion going forward, this is my first corporate job so I have very little comparison.

3) I believe this was true in the old days and may still be now but I haven't seen or heard about it happening recently so I can't give a realistic comment on this. We do have some partners that came from call it "easier" markets that are quite young but they are thriving here as well so I doubt them making partner was a product of being in a less competitive market.

Hope this answers everything?

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Feb 19, 2019

Great. That is all for now. Thank you.

Feb 19, 2019

Could you talk about your background/how you got to where you are now and what experiences helped you get there?

Feb 19, 2019

My background is fairly standard for the field to be honest.
I got good grades and went to a target ( M&A isn't as competitive as strategy or M&A banking).
In terms of grades I was consistently in the top 5 - 10% of my class in university and had decent extra circulars - I did boxing and MMA for 8 years and taught for 1 year.
To be quite honest connecting with my interviewers on a human level got me the job, there were a lot more impressive people including my girlfriend who tried and didn't get the job I did, a lot of it was luck via connecting with my interviewers.
I think networking in the UK is a lot less important than it is in the USA (atleast from what i've read on this forum) I did basically no networking

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Feb 19, 2019


Feb 20, 2019

Fro my experience no. I believe that is more the remit of the strategy houses. I'm focused more on operations therefore we may be engaged to asses the operations / perform diligence on the shortlisted targets and determine whether operationally it makes sense from a synergy or potential cost savings perspective.

In consulting a basic way to think about it is strategy is focused on revenue whilst operations is cost focused - I suspect in the future we may attempt to build our strategy practice so we can offer an end to end service

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Feb 20, 2019

Thank you for doing this, answers have been insightful so far.

I was wondering what the space looks like in terms of:
- Big players
- Rankings
- Pay (base/bonus)

Also you mentioned not wanting to be a partner, what would you like to do down the line?

Based in Europe as well btw.

Feb 20, 2019

So from what I understand:

Big players -
Big 4 are huge and probably market leaders in pre deal with A&M / Alix partners etc i.e. specialists focused on this space also in the running i'm not 100% sure who comes out on top here.
Post deal you'll often but not always see the strategy houses (MBB) running the top level of the integration whilst the others pick up workstreams and sections.
I'm not at a strat house but from what i've seen often they're pretty awful at anything but the top level stuff purely due to lack of experience in the space. This must be caveated with the fact that their general reputation and placement of alumni wins them a lot of work and soon they'll be very competent. One of my partners put it as "what the strat houses have is throwing extremely smart / capable people at the problem and therefore they can figure out the answer, the experience will come soon enough"

Rankings -
This isn't like banking with "League tables" so the above answer is good enough for this.

Pay -
The firm i'm at competes on lifestyle. We play hard and work hard with significant leeway given to us on the bench - i've often spent 2 /3 days at home after a project or gone to the pub in the middle of the day and not come back to work. However, this is a product of me being junior enough to not have enough responsibility to be missed (i've been ranked a top performer the last two years so this behaviour isn't held against me). A few of the more hard core firms work like dogs and from what I know are compensated at par with strategy consulting at my level

Feb 21, 2019

Thank you for these insights!

Apr 10, 2019

M&A/PE Consultant 2 years post-undergrad here. The Big 4 are obviously players in the space but, on the higher end, my company consistently runs into competing bids from BCG, Bain, etc (FYI - I work for a boutique shop in the U.S.).

Our sweet spot (read: most consistently sold work) is a cross between an operations/business process diligence and IT diligence. IMO, this cross-functional diligence will become more prevalent as technology continues to advance and the line between IT and operations disintegrates.

Typically, I go to 1-2 on-sites per week for a total of 2-3 travel days. Some weeks there is no travel at all. Upsides are less travel and less repetition (you're never going to the same place twice). Downsides are lack of visibility into what your next few days look like. We also do post-close work. This can be anything from strategy to PMO for major transformations.

I went to a target school and got above average grades, but nothing spectacular.

Base is $95k. Bonus target is 30-50% of base (pretty high for junior consultants).

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Sep 2, 2019