A quick presentation of the M&A job…

Louis DETALLE

In this article, Louis DETALLE (ESSEC Business School, Grande Ecole – Master in Management, 2020-2023) explains what does an M&A daily life looks like.

 

What does M&A consist in?

Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A) is a profession that advises companies wishing to develop their external growth, i.e. growth through the acquisition of a company or through a merger with it. M&A mandates are therefore carried out on the side of the company that wishes to acquire another company, “buy-side”, or on the side of a company that wishes to be acquired, “sell-side”.

What does an analyst work on?

The tasks of an M&A analyst are diverse and include, for example, drawing up a business plan, modelling different scenarios and strategies in Excel, and drafting information memorandums (IMs) on the various deals in progress. All these skills are then widely used for the mergers and acquisitions of companies, in the development of their external strategy, in their financial evaluation or in the analysis of databases. Overall, M&A allows you to move into any sector of finance and this is part of the reason why it is so attractive.

Why does M&A jobs appeal so much to students?

First of all, it is the dynamic working atmosphere that investment banking enjoys that also attracts young graduates. M&A is indeed marked by a culture of high standards and maximum commitment, with highly responsive teams and extremely competent colleagues. Working in a quality team is very stimulating, and often makes it possible to approach the workload with less apprehension and to rapidly increase one’s competence. The remuneration is also much higher than in other professions at the beginning of a professional career for a young graduate and it progresses rapidly. Finally, it is also the exit hypotheses that attract young M&A analysts.

What are the main exits for M&A?

Most professionals who started out in M&A move on to other types of activities where experience in this sector is required. This is particularly the case in private equity. After advising companies on their growth and expansion projects, the young investment banker has all the tools needed to work in investment funds. The skills are indeed transposable to the financial and strategic questions that private equity funds ask themselves in order to obtain a return on investment.

Switching to alternative portfolio management (hedge funds) is also a possibility. Hedge funds can invest in different types of assets such as commodities, currencies, corporate or government bonds, real estate or others. As a former M&A analyst, you have the skills to analyse the market and determine the assets that seem to be the most appropriate and profitable.

Finally, some former M&A bankers switch to corporate M&A, which involves determining which companies or subsidiaries the company should buy or sell. This can be a very interesting area as you have the opportunity to follow the acquisition of a company from start to finish and therefore take a long-term view of the company’s strategy.

Useful resources

Article about data providers and their importance

2021 ranking for M&A banks in France (league tables)

About the author

The article was written in April 2022 by Louis DETALLE (ESSEC Business School, Grande Ecole – Master in Management, 2020-2023).

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