M&A Analyst Intern: All you need to know about M&A internships

M&A Analyst Intern: All you need to know about M&A internships

Meeting with a student from Audencia who is doing his gap year in the M&A store. As his second internship begins, he tells us about the process he went through to find internships and shares his experience and his feelings at the end of his first internship.

Read more : M&A, what is it exactly?

Can you introduce yourself ? Tell us about your background?

Hello, after obtaining an ES baccalaureate with honors, I did 2 years of preparatory class ECE way in Paris. In September 2020, I therefore integrated Audencia Nantes Business School.

You are currently in a gap year and intern as an M&A Analyst, how did you find your internship?

I did my first gap year as aIntern M&A analyst in a mid-cap M&A boutique located in Paris, specializing in several sectors such as infrastructure, healthcare and transport. I found my internship by looking at advertisements LinkedIn. In fact, I had subscribed to all the M&A shops on Linkedin to see when they published internship offers.

Finance recruitment processes are known to be long and complex, how did yours go?

The questions found in interviews for M&A internships are often similar: technical questions (more or less advanced depending on the store), fit issues (personality) and sometimes questions about the store itself (for example: Why our shop rather than another? Do you know some deals we have made? Our key sectors? etc.).

In my shop, I had had several fit questions and a few technical questions. I had also had interviews in another boutique, a mid-cap in Paris where I had a technical sheet test of 45 minutes. There, the questions were quite technical, for example: write in 15-20 lines what we know about LBOs, analyze an income statement, or even give the WACC formula and explain it.

In general, there are between 2 and 3 rounds : a tour with an analyst to make contact and fit it (quite briefly), a tour with another analyst, this time accompanied by an associate or a VP (generally there are technical questions and fit), and sometimes a third round with a Partner to check that everything is ok and that he did well with you too.

With friends, we were well prepared for the questions and we reviewed together from time to time, especially when we had the same interviews. We were trying to pull ourselves up. The goal was not to compete with each other. We wanted everyone to succeed and they did.

We also had a drop in morale when we received refusals, eliminations in the last round, calls to tell us that even if we had been good, we did not have enough experience and that the person who had been taken had already done an internship in finance… but we hung on.

What were your missions as an M&A Analyst?

The missions as an M&A intern depend a lot on your exposure within the store. During my first part of the caesura, it was above all market studies, monitoring, Company Profiles achievements (brief presentation in one or two slides of a company). I was also helping to carry out the IMs (Info-Memorandum), teasers, etc I also had to every day update an Excel with recent deals that could potentially interest the store in which I was (concerning our sectors, our regular customers, etc.).

Every Monday, we had a meeting to talk about current files, and during which we were “staffed” (list of tasks you are given to do, usually with deadlines). The luck I had during my internship is that I could be staffed by a Partner as well as by an analyst or an MD (Managing Director), this allows me to work with different profiles and to learn a lot, in particular in terms of rigor, etc.

Currently (for my second part of the gap), I am in a shop in the region where I am much more exposed. I do client meetings, I pitch, I contact business leaders to offer them ideas for operations (transfer, fundraising, acquisitions, etc.).

We often hear it said that finance requires an unparalleled investment and that it is a universe where it is difficult to impose oneself. Did you notice it during this internship?

Finance is a particular universe, quite codified (I’m speaking in any case for corporate finance), whether it’s dress code on schedule, through the culture of the store you are in. Each shop has its own culture: some require, for example, that the interns stay until the partners have left, others are more flexible, others impose the tie… it all depends.

The schedules are also very different from those generally found on the job market. You have to accept to sometimes finish around 10 p.m.-11 p.m.-midnight having done sometimes very time-consuming tasks for hours all day. Sometimes I had to do slides without even knowing why or for what purpose. And again, I never worked on weekends, but I have a friend doing an M&A internship who had to work on Easter Monday to finish a pitch in an emergency…

I don’t know if the term “impose” is appropriate here because any trainee in any branch of activity is not really there to make the decisions, always give his opinion, etc. However, what is certain is that the more your exposure will be important within the shop, the more your opinion and your analyzes will be taken into account.

In general (although not always) the bigger the shop the less exposure you will have, the smaller the shop and team the more likely you will bebeing in client meetings, pitching, doing business valuation, working on data rooms, etc.

What do you take away from this first experience in finance?

It was a difficult experience, especially at the start. I had no experience in corporate finance before starting my internship, so when you are told to do slides properly, to source everything you doto use software you’ve never used before, and all that, as quickly as possible… you’re lost.

The first 3 months were particularly difficult because it took time to adapt… I had already get shaken up by my superiors because I had no rigor in what I produced at the beginning, whether on the slides, the sources used, etc. Then, little by little, I started to take certain reflexes that I have now completely assimilated.

Also schedules, fatigue, the monotony of certain tasks, reproaches, etc, all of this can hit you on the system and sometimes you just give up and wonder why you are doing all this.

But in the end, it allowed me to acquire great rigor, a good understanding of the world of finance, business, and to surpass myself. I know today that I am capable of work hard hours if necessary. All this also allows you to build a networkto rub shoulders with experts in their field, business leaders, etc.

The M&A internship may at first sight be totally meaningless (spending hours on slides aligning your logos or checking that there are no double spaces…) but I think there is still the best school to learn rigor, understanding of the world of business, finance, as well as surpassing oneself.

Any advice for students who want to go into finance during their gap year?

My tips for getting an internship: thoroughly work on technical issues (some platforms like Training You allow you to train and prepare well), and network thoroughly. Occasionally, by calling people on Linkedin for example, you may come across someone who will pass on your CV or talk about you to their superiors (it’s rare but you have to maximize your chances).

Read more : Discover Trainy: the first 100% free financial preparation platform

Also feel free to make Unsolicited applications, in some cases it may work. I have a friend who had his internship in M&A by sending his CV and his LM to the partner of a boutiquehe offered him an interview and he was taken after 2 rounds.

In short, “shark” a max if we can say. Even if you go receive dozens of refusals (and still twenty, it’s really not much), don’t get discouraged. The more interviews you have, the more comfortable you will be and the better you will perform.

Once in training, you have to hold on. You will often have a drop in form, you may wonder if you made the right decision by going to your internship, etc. You will have the feeling of learning nothing sometimes… But it is false, thereafter, for your future training courses, you will realize that you are in fact much more at ease, very sure of yourself, and that you have a very good ability to synthesize information, to master Excel or Powerpoint, to analyze income statements, to know the news, etc.

You will also learn to resist the pressure, dealing with comments from your superiors, managing difficult schedules, etc. It’s 6 months where you have to hang on and give yourself to, afterward, do what you want. Even if you want to work in a start-up, in the financial management of large groups, or even in strategic consulting, your skills will be highly appreciated and recruiters will know your skills and your assets. Thereby, you will pass the screenings much more easily.

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