I have an interview coming up (tomorrow) where the interviewers have stressed, "Know which groups that you most want to work in and why."
I know I want to work in M&A... I'm not sure if my reasons are "interview-friendly". So, I'm curious, what are some good interview answers for "Why M&A?"?
Why Work in a Mergers & Acquisitions Group?
Generally speaking, M&A is a very attractive area to be in if you are a more technically minded person. If your passion lies in a particular sector, M&A may not be for you and if you are very interested in the equity or debt market specifically M&A will not give you much exposure.
However, if you want a generalist experience while developing a strong technical skill set, M&A is a great group to start your career in. Some of our users shared their thoughts below.
@dosk17 shared their rationale for M&A:
- More modeling/technical skills gained (people will debate this one but generally true vs ECM groups for example).
- More interesting/more complex deals compared to capital markets teams. Buyside, sellside, LBOs, divestitures, etc. etc. all wildly different. Just make sure you don't end up in a group that only does generic auctions.
- Learn a lot about the negotiation process, managing egos, bringing buyer and seller to terms (obviously you won't do any of this as an Analyst, but you get to observe a lot).
User @Valk offered some typical reasons that they hear from candidates:
- Exposure to a variety of sectors/industries (i.e. you work with various industry teams)
- Every deal is unique (vs. equity or debt deals which are more standardized) and you can see a wide variety of transactions from different perspectives (strategic vs financial sponsor, buyside vs sellside, company deal vs. asset deal, hostile vs friendly approach etc.)
- Nature of the work, on average, is more technical/model intensive (e.g. modelling various deal structures and complex tax scenarios) vs. industry (e.g. doing industry outlook slides, trading comps etc). or ECM/DCM (term sheets, market outlook slides etc)
- The intangible experiences can be very interesting/fun - you usually deal with the CEO/Board in M&A deals, witnessing intense negotiations between counterparties, exposure to LOTS of egos
I'd add that you are working on more execution based deals - IE a mandate has been given to the bank so you are spending less of your time focusing on pitches that have no hope of going anywhere.
Takeaways and Sample "Why M&A?" Answer
All of the above reasons are good ones to include when constructing an interview type answer for "Why M&A?" You should also touch on how you like the group culture and members of the group that you have spoken with in person and on the phone. You should not mention exits opps as a reason for why you want to work in M&A or develop the technical skill set.
Example "Why M&A?" Answer
I am attracted to the M&A group at XYZ bank as I am interested in generalist experience of the group as well as the execution oriented nature of the team. Additionally, after completing my equity research internship last summer, I realized that I wanted to develop a more quantitative skills set so I would love to be in a group that I could develop and apply modeling skills. Also, after spending a few hours visiting the M&A floor I felt like a really connected with the analyst class and the collegial nature of the team. All of these factors have really led me to want to spend my summer in M&A.
Read More About M&A on WSO
- Which Internship To Choose? MBB, BIG 4 M&A Or MM M&A Boutique
- AMA - IB Coverage / M&A From Non-Target School To Tier 1 Bulge Bracket And M&A Boutique
- Big4 M&A Senior Manager To Bulge Bracket M&A Desk - Possible?
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