What’s it like to spend a year with the world’s leading financial advisory, Lazard?

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Lazard is the world’s largest independent investment bank and is a financial advisory and asset managemnt firm with bases all around the world. Business editor Chloe Pryce catches up with Cameron Mackintosh, a final year Economics and Finance student who completed his placement year at the world-renowned firm. 

In the first three quarters of 2018, the world had seen merger & acquisition deals worth a total of $3.3 trillion, primarily in industries including energy and power, technology and healthcare. 

We see speculation around mergers & acquisitions and deals taking place all the time, from recent speculation that the Barclays may sell Telegraph titles to Sainsbury’s bidding to takeover Asda last year. 

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Investment banking is an exciting, dynamic and highly relevant industry to work within, and attracts graduates all over the world. 

With only 1,565 vacancies for graduates in the investment banking industry, down 43% since the recession, it’s no surprise students are interested in getting insights into the industry. This week, I interviewed Cameron Mackintosh, a final year Economics & Finance student who completed his placement year at the world’s leading independent financial advisory firm, Lazard. 

I started the interview by asking Cam a bit about his role at Lazard including his daily responsibilities and tasks. He worked as an Investment Banking Analyst in the Industrials Mergers & Acquisitions team. 

He summarised his role as producing work that was used to provide advice to the bank’s industrial clients on various financial and strategic matters, including advice on buying other companies and selling companies and divisions, often working on teams of around five people on different assignments. 

Cam’s role in the team was often analysis, research and attending meetings to gain an insight and equally develop his experience in the investment banking industry. Cam’s daily responsibilities and tasks were split into two categories: marketing books and live deals. Essentially, attracting new clients and carrying out live work for existing clients. 

Working on marketing books and pitching for new business – this involved working on financial analysis and carrying out research for the marketing book. Cam also created PowerPoint books which were used to present to clients when pitching for new business. 

Live Deals – this involved analysis and running the live deal process. Cam was involved in managing different parts of the live deal and contributed to the smooth running of the deal process.

Cam also had longer-term tasks which he balanced alongside live work which included keeping databases up to date.

I then asked Cam what key skills made a good Lazard intern. His opinion on the top skills required included:

High attention to detail: 

“A lot of the work is numerically based. It’s very important that everything is completely correct when you send a piece of work to your client. The better attention to detail you show, the more trusting your senior team members will be of you and the more responsibility you will be given,”

Enthusiastic:

“Working in mergers and acquisitions can be a lot of work, all be it very interesting. Show your interest and enthusiasm; always be willing to take on more and push yourself. And keep smiling!”

Relationship building 

“Build a rapport with your seniors. Seniors at Lazard are always happy to give advice and go for a coffee with you. A lot of the work you do is with the Associate above you who has been working there for between 3 and 6 years. There is a lot of interaction between yourself and the rest of the team and it is super important to build strong rapport within the team,”

Throughout the interview, Cam consistently emphasised the culture of Lazard as being something he valued. Specifically, he mentioned the lean nature of the teams at Lazard. 

Working in teams of around five people on a live deal or marketing book means you work directly with associates, VPs, directors and managing directors. You have a high level of responsibility and exposure. 

Even at Analyst level, Cam said he felt his work was valued and made a difference to industry-defining deals. 

Lazard has a new ‘Lazard Way’ initiative which focuses on how the juniors in the bank are treated including an initiative to bring the juniors along to more meetings. 

As a result, Cam was able to attend numerous meetings with client CEOs and CFOs and jump on lots of calls on live deals. Cam also noted the diversity of the company:

“People are from a very diverse range of backgrounds, they have obtained all different sorts of degree disciplines. The office is therefore a buzz of diverse people, making it a good place to have varied conversations and gain a blend of perspectives,”

Lazard.com

Cam mentioned the ‘family-feel’ of the company. Everybody knows everybody. Cam was able to build a strong relationship with one of the directors on his team. He was able to work alongside him on marketing books and deals and went for lunch and coffee with him to discuss professional and personal development. 

Finally, Cam’s favourite bit about the internship was a particular large, live deal he worked on in the capital goods sector. 

He worked on a team that were advising a client on buying another company and had to submit a first-round bid. Cam enjoyed the build-up to the bid, was able to attend several important meetings and calls discussing details with key stakeholders. He found it interesting experiencing deal and negotiating tactics first-hand.

Cam plans to return to Lazard after university, a company which he feels will provide him with the diverse, dynamic and supportive environment required to excel in the investment banking industry.

If you are interested in a career in Investment Banking, applications for Lazard’s Industrial Placement, Summer Internship and Spring-Insight programmes are currently open. 

Image: [Lazard.com]