Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Life on the buy-side

These days have been great for appreciating the beauty of working on the buy-side. Believe it or not, only a few days into my internship I got to write a due diligence plan for McKinsey, as they are doing the commercial due diligence on one of the deals we're working on, and I was happy I was the one specifying what they have to do, not the one who has to deliver all that in 4 weeks! Believe it or not, as it turned out I knew the McKinsey partner and Associate Principal of the project, and it is quite ironic they are working for my desk now! They'll be pretty well paid as well though :-).

Other than that, I've also been on a trip to Germany where we met with the management of one potential target one day, and today I came along to another meeting with tax advisors who were pitching a deal to us. The beauty is you don't need to be as well prepared or well-dressed, and they treat you very nicely. As a consultant, you have to be perfect and alert, and they can still be nasty to you if they want to. Today I wasn't even wearing a suit (I decided to go for smart casual today since many people on the trading floor, especially women, seem to do that), and the director asked me to come along to that meeting with PwC, and I said "is it ok? i'm not even wearing a suit today" and he said it wouldn't matter, it would be interesting for me, and I just came along, knew nothing, wasn't dressed to the occasion, but everything went perfectly well. It's much more relaxed.

Right now, I'm helping out on one ongoing deal and also on 3 or 4 opportunities, doing valuations, background checks etc., I'm learning a lot. The legal, fiscal and financial details are very hard to understand though. I'm struggling to understand 100 page documents flodded with words like Opco, Bidco, Rosco, bridge financing, withholding tax, quantum, SPV, ringfencing... you name it. At least I have won a LOT of respect for accountants and lawyers over the last weeks, I always thought those things were pretty straightforward, but it turns out they are not at all.

So much from me, now I will continue working. I just thought I'd take a break to post, because recently I have posted only pictures rather than stories.

1 comment:

Sam said...

Hello Angie,

I recently stumbled upon your blog on a random walk down MBA student blog street :) It is a very nice blog, congratulations (I've managed to back read a few of your posts so far), and of particular interest to me, talks about your experience in S&T.

I'm going to be starting an MBA at Haas from next month. I'm very excited and looking forward to it. My current background is in technology (engineering at large Silicon valley company) - but I am very keen to make a switch to a finance career. I love markets and the calculated risk taking and valuation and all that!

But I hear it's not going to be so easy to make that switch - especially since I have ruled out IB in particular and that's the easiest (relatively speaking of course) way to break in to finance. At this point in my life, with a wife and a baby, spending 80+ hrs a week at work, no matter how enjoyable it is, is not my cup of tea.

So I'm thinking about S&T, which seems like not that crazy in terms of work-life balance. I'll admit I don't know much about the job at all (thanks for your post describing some details), but am trying to find out more. My ultimate goal is to end up on the buy side (portfolio mgmt), but I think directly breaking into the buy side from a non finance background will be hard so I think my best shot is to try and get an S&T internship next summer.

Would you mind if I asked you a few more questions about S&T and kept in touch ? I read from a previous post that you prefer not to give your e-mail address out - so could you please mail me at
sam_chatterjee AT mba DOT berkeley DOT edu with your e-mail address ? I'd really appreciate that.

Thanks a lot!

Best Regards,
-Sam