unstructured M&A internship at a small boutique, how should i make the best of it

samantha.ylw's picture
Rank: Baboon | banana points 115


I started a internship two days ago working exclusively with the VP of the M&A department of a corp fin firm (I might work with other people in the firm too but don't know yet). He mainly deals with the tech/fintech sector. He also deals with fundrasing too.

He gives me modelling work which I am happy for, although the modelling work is not very complex at all. He also takes me to every client meeting and will let me prepare for the pitchbook (I won't be pitching).
The deal flow of this firm is great and he himselves is currently working on at least 3 deals alone. But the size of deals is quite small, ranging from PS5m - PS20m.

It has only been two days and has been fine so far but I am worried that my experience will be looked down upon when I apply for SA at BB. I am also worried that I wont get technical experience out of it.
The VP is quite laidback in terms of training me and expect me to know a lot of stuff. For example he will ask me to make the pitchbook cleaner without giving me much guidance.

Any idea how I should make the best of this experience? Thanks

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Comments (10)

Jun 24, 2015

If you are building models, you already have more experience than most SA applicants. My advice would be to keep doing what you are doing, always making sure to do well on assignments to prove your worth. Make note of everything that you work on and put two or three deals on your resume that you can talk about. Look at the CIMs to make sure you know those deals inside and out.

Jun 26, 2015

Thank you for the brilliant advice
But the size of the deals I'm involved in are WAY smaller and less complicated than those at BBs. The complexity of the model I have built this week is nowhere those I have learned on Macabus's website (pardon me if I spell the name wrong). Am I expecting too much?

And next week I'll have heavy workload of doing research mainly (identify new buyers and sellers). Nothing analytical from the look of it. It's that what interns at BBs do too? Am I on the right track?

Jun 26, 2015

You can always make models more complex, but you need a solid foundation first. For example, if you can build a basic LBO cold, it will be relatively easy to ramp it up and include more tranches of debt, dividend recapitalizations, etc.

As far as your work goes, you are missing the big picture view. Modeling is important, but it is a very, very small part of a deal. All a model does is serve to justify your valuation, and most of the time, the model is built backwards (i.e. you build the model to give the output that you want). Building a buyer's universe (what you are doing next week) is extremely important to a deal. If you cannot build a proper buyer's universe, how on Earth will you maximize the purchase price for your client? Imagine if GS won an M&A mandate for a paper cup manufacturer and instead of building a buyer's universe, they decided to just shop it around. How much do you think a BPO or oil exploration company would pay for a paper cup manufacturer? Probably close to nothing.

Jun 26, 2015

Thank you. I'm just a bit worried that in the next SA recruitment, I'll be the kid who has experience at a small shop rather than BB, or even MM. Will my experience be significantly worse than candidates who had summer gig at BB?

By the way, I'm going to be a master's student next academic year, but I don't mind doing another summer internship (hopefully at BB) before I apply for full time.

Jun 28, 2015

Congrats on landing that offer, remembered you asking for internship advice a few weeks ago. As Sils said, modelling is only a small part of the job process.

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Jun 28, 2015

But surely when I compete with a room full of kids with BB experience, they'd prefer those kids? Anything I can do to stand out?

Jun 28, 2015

Bump. Anyone else??

Jun 28, 2015

1) I think you're overestimating how many kids have BB experience before your junior summer

2) Generally, it is guaranteed that interns don't model much everywhere

3) It sounds like you need to understand the day to day work, and like @Sil said, the bigger picture of what a model is used for

4) Nothing you can do about your summer now. If you're too worried about your competition, you won't be able to perform in the interviews

Jul 1, 2015

So what kind of modelling work will kids at a BB summer gig do?

I have been doing research on potential buyers and potential clients for almost 3 days now (as my VP is on business abroad, he has assigned me a week of research tasks). It gets a bit boring now on day 3 and I can't understand what most companies do (I am doing research on cyber security and fintech firms). Any advice on how i should gain more industry knowledge?? As a finance student, i have very very limited knowledge of other industries :(

Jul 1, 2015