We spoke to Max to find out why he chose leading investment bank, Greenhill, and to see what he enjoys the most about his role there as an Analyst.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
In contrast to a bulge bracket, there is a much greater opportunity to take on responsibility early on, meaning the learning curve is significantly steeper. I think the experience / aptitude of an analyst at Greenhill would be relatively more advanced than at a larger bank where you may have to wait a couple of years before you can get real-deal exposure (e.g. you are responsible for a financial model on a process).
What skills or experiences at university best prepared you for your career at Greenhill?
I came from a non-finance background, and so even though studying a finance-related degree can provide a solid foundation from a technical standpoint, it does not necessarily confer any advantage. The vast majority of the skills (technical /modelling, process management, general financial awareness etc.) you will acquire on the job and from actually being involved in a live process. I found there to be a rather large gulf between the academic and practical nature of the job (i.e. reading more finance books will only teach you so much). One of the most important aspects as an incoming analyst is attitude and aptitude to learn.
Why did you pick Greenhill?
I chose Greenhill for a variety of factors, but one of the most important reasons was the attitude and approachability of the people I met during my interviews. Compared to other interviews I had, it was immediately clear to me that Greenhill looked for candidates who are interested in pursuing a long-term career with the firm (i.e. candidates that can contribute more than just working long hours). Further, I think the team of people you work with / around is crucial in M&A because you are spending a significant proportion of your time here, and therefore finding that cultural fit is more relevant compared to a normal 9-5pm job.
What has surprised you about your role or the firm, since joining Greenhill?
What has exceeded my expectations since joining Greenhill is the ability to progress as an analyst and the capacity, if you want, to take on greater levels of responsibility on a project. There is a much flatter hierarchical structure at Greenhill and, again, this results in a much steeper learning curve. Therefore, if you really want to learn and progress as an M&A analyst, Greenhill is a great place to do that. Furthermore, being a generalist also means you gain exposure to a variety of sectors and industries that you wouldn’t get elsewhere if you specialised straight away.