Being every recent MBA graduate dream, the mergers and acquisitions (M&A) position in investment banking is highly competitive and extremely demanding. The main responsibility of the M&A expert is to advise companies on mergers (uniting with another company) or acquisitions (buying out another company). Top investment banks will focus on big deals which would rarely be below $100 million and in some cases reach billions.
Key skills any M&A professional needs to demonstrate at an early stage are strong quantitative abilities which will allow for the in depth analysis of the company’s situation, market overview and future projections. Attention to details is highly appreciated along with knowledge of financial modeling and valuation abilities.
As one grows up the corporate level and gets to meet final clients, more soft skills are also required. The ability to develop an overall strategy based on the specific needs of various stakeholders along with negotiation skills and work ethics are irreplaceable.
Being an ambitious and self-motivated person, ready to take initiative and assume responsibility is mandatory for an M&A specialist. One needs to be resourceful and creative to ensure the best analysis and most factors taken into consideration.
What to expect when starting a career in M&A?
Moving up the ladder in an M&A environment is rather established given that you demonstrate abilities and talent for the job. You would be spending 3 years as an analyst, then another 3 as an associate. Following, you will be promoted to a vice president, director and managing director focusing on a specific industrial sector. The more you grow the more your job will involve meeting clients while leaving the complex financial modeling and research of your client and the competition to complete the presentation portfolio to more junior staff.
Long hours and 24/7 availability are to be expected, however, they will also pay off. Junior investment banking analysts might get between $90k-$100k plus what could reach $80k bonuses, while a managing director can dispose to up to $500k in salary plus $1400k bonus annually.
The top 3 global advisors in M&A are Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and JP Morgan followed by Credit Suisse – the biggest European representative.