The term “Merger Acquisition” refers to the merger between two companies, a buyer (“Buy side”) and a seller (“Sell side”), or the acquisition of one by the other. A Mergers – Acquisitions operation can therefore take several forms, such as the sale of one company to another, the acquisition of a target company, the acquisition or sale of a division of a company or the sale or the acquisition of one or more assets.
To carry out a sale or an acquisition, the two companies will have to appoint investment banks who will then take on the role of financial advisor during the transaction.
During a Sell side operation, the bank will support the selling company. During a Buy side operation, the bank will support the buying company.
Everything You Need to Know to Work in Merger Acquisition
The Missions of an M&A Analyst
At this point in the article, you now have the basic knowledge to understand the Mergers & Acquisitions sector. Want to get started? A moment ! We are going to present to you the daily missions of an M&A analyst in investment banking. You will note that this list is not exhaustive:
- writing teasers and investment memoranda;
- list of target companies;
- sector and competitive analyses;
- realization and modeling of financial valuations (you better know how to use excel because it is not with your high school calculator that you will get by!);
- various financial analyses;
- contact with customers;
- supervision of M&A interns.
The missions of an M&A trainee are similar to those of the analyst except that the trainee is staffed by the analyst and therefore has no managerial dimension in his position.
The Qualities Required to Integrate a Position in Merger Acquisition
As you have understood, due to its complex and high-responsibility missions, the position of Mergers – Acquisitions analyst is not for everyone, although it is a really exciting job.
Below is a list, again non-exhaustive, of knowledge and qualities highly valued and sought after by recruiters.
Hard skills to work in merger acquisition:
- very in-depth knowledge of financial statements and the links between them;
- the valuation methods should no longer hold any secrets for you (dcf, ddm, multiples, etc.);
- you must know how to model in excel;
- finally, you have good analytical and synthesis skills.
- soft skills to work in merger acquisition
- you are ready to absorb a heavy workload (and yes, when a client pays you millions to acquire a company worth billions, you might as well warn you that the aperitifs at your best friend’s on friday evening at 7 p.m. are over) ;
- you pay attention to the smallest detail to make documents flawless;
- you have good writing skills;
- you have good resistance to stress and a strong team spirit.
You now know how to give relief to your CV and cover letter to attract the attention of recruiters!
Opportunities for a Position in Merger Acquisition
You are convinced that your career should start in M&A, but as outstanding visionaries, you are already thinking about the future. You are completely right!
The opportunities after a position in Mergers – Acquisitions are numerous and make many people dream.
If you want to return to a more chill pace to enjoy weekends with friends, you will have a real pass for all positions in corporate finance. No one will indeed have a more attractive CV than yours and no recruiter will close their doors to you.
On the other hand, if you dream of a Harvey Specter life, we have selected for you a list of post-M&A opportunities to which you can apply:
- private equity;
- hedge funds;
- asset management;
- corporate M&A;
- other divisions of the bank;
- entrepreneurship (and yes, business is business and no one knows the business better than an investment banker).
Why Should You Work in Merger Acquisition?
You now know the missions, the qualities required and the opportunities for a position in Mergers – Acquisitions, but you are still skeptical about the interest of making this move and you are right!
M&A is not for everyone and it is better to be aware of this before starting. Mergers – Acquisitions are particularly aimed at those who want to:
- know corporate finance at your fingertips;
- be an outstanding financial modeling geek;
- obtain remarkable sector knowledge;
- acquire a real work ethic;
- embrace an unprecedented professional career;
- earn a lot of money (the sinews of war, right?!).
The world of mergers and acquisitions is like a professional preparatory class in corporate finance. Starting your career in Mergers – Acquisitions will bring you a rich and highly sought-after experience in finance. A real career booster!
The Flip Side of the Merger Acquisition Coin
As mentioned above, the Mergers & Acquisitions sector is not for everyone. Let’s take a moment to dwell on the hidden part of the M&A iceberg.
- The tasks can be repetitive after a few years spent in M&A (like all positions after all, right?).
- Maintaining a work/life balance will be difficult. This is the price to pay if you want to become a corporate finance hitman. But it’s a price that we usually pay quite easily because the job is so exciting.
- The workload will be heavy and you will have to show great resistance to stress.
Integration in Mergers – Acquisitions is not given to everyone. In addition to a very elitist selection, M&A positions are very popular. It is therefore essential to be perfectly prepared if you have the chance to land an interview!