Jonah Surkes Greenhill Internship Square

Jonah Surkes

What do you enjoy most about your role?

Most of all I enjoy interacting with a variety of fascinating sectors, situations, companies and people. The diversity of opportunity at Greenhill is vast; as a Generalist business you could be working on a Tech buy-side in the morning and a pharmaceutical business restructuring in the afternoon. While keeping things even more interesting, this means that as a young professional your network is opened to a wide range of individuals from junior peers at clients and co-advisors right up to FTSE 100 CEOs and directors. At Greenhill, analysts are encouraged to take as much responsibility as possible, and you will often find yourself gaining the trust and respect of people far more senior than yourself – something that is rewarding and a fantastic learning opportunity.

What skills or experiences at university best prepared you for your career at Greenhill?

I studied Human Social and Political Sciences (similar to PPE except without the ‘E’), which did not provide any vocational support but equipped me with the necessary analytical skills, such as being able to read documents quickly and pick out key extracts, that enable me to be an efficient Analyst at Greenhill. Rather it was my extra-curricular activities that prepared me best for my career at Greenhill. Involvement in student musical theatre allowed me develop my presentational skills and delivery, which has been invaluable when communicating with clients and fellow team members (while ensuring I don’t break out into song and dance!) Similarly, as President of the Cambridge Union, I honed my leadership skills, ability to manage a budget and communication with high-profile individuals. The network of fellow students and guests I built has proved useful in a professional setting at Greenhill, where entrepreneurship is particularly encouraged.

Why did you pick Greenhill?

Before my internship, I had a difficult choice to make between a top-tier bulge bracket, a well-respected hedge fund, and Greenhill. The bankers at Greenhill made that decision far, far easier. From the moment of my initial networking event with Greenhill (which I must admit, I went to on the promise of free food and drink), I felt an exceptionally strong connection with the firm. It’s hard to pin down exactly what it was, but I think it came down to a commitment to making every guest in the room feel welcome – a trait replicated at interview stages, during my internship, and now as an Analyst. Beyond just the ‘vibe’, Greenhill’s work seemed perfect for those with curious minds. As a generalist, I was able to work across six sectors during my internship on a multitude of differing tasks, something that would have been impossible in large investment banks and most boutique firms.

What has surprised you about your role or the firm, since joining Greenhill?

Before joining Greenhill, I had heard horror stories of investment banks, where MDs refused to learn Analysts’ names and taxis took analysts home at night only to shower and immediately return. What struck me about Greenhill was an active effort to demystify this myth – everyone is incredibly friendly, encouraging, supportive and will always have time for you, no matter how junior or senior you may be. It’s easy for a firm to sing from the rooftops about their culture, but Greenhill puts it into practice – team building, drinks events, karaoke, sports in the corridors – you name it, we take our culture very seriously.