So, if you’ve made up your mind to kickstart a career in M&As, we share 3 ways that can help fast-track your journey and boost your chances:
1. Kill the Skills
There’s no circumventing this — you need a solid understanding of at least one of the following: accounting, business, finance, or strategy. It’s not necessary to hold an advanced degree but many M&A professionals have MBAs and some even law degrees. If you further have certifications such as Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) or Certified Public Accountant (CPA), these can improve your odds of landing a top-notch role.
It’s also not sufficient to have only theoretical knowledge of the above subjects. You should be able to analyse financial health instruments such as income statements, balance sheets, and cash flow statements. It’s also beneficial to have an understanding of business valuations.
Among other skills, you should work to hone your strategic thinking, negotiations, analytical, problem-solving, and data mining acumen. One must also be piqued to understand global markets. Lastly, how good are you at managing your time and stress? In a high-pressure job such as that of an M&A advisor, you need to be able to stay sane in pressing situations.
2. Initiate, Intern, Impress
An internship can be the springboard to landing your desired role in M&As. They not only open doors for jobs but also prepare you for the role through practical training. If you have the opportunity to work at an investment bank under the M&A division, go for it. This will sculpt you for what’s to come and will also help you figure out whether the role is a right fit for you.
Chances are that during an internship like this you will get the golden opportunity to witness an M&A deal in action. It will be a key time to exhibit your skills and allow people to recognise you. Take initiative, ask questions, help however you can, and most importantly, network. This real-time professional environment is an unmatched opportunity to get on the good side of key executives in the IB and M&A fields. So, don’t hesitate to make an impression.
3. Sharpen with Simulations
If your mind is set on a career in Investment Banking, then M&As is one of the most lucrative options for specialisation not just for its financial rewards but also for how professionally and intellectually stimulating it is. You are part of the team in charge of selling, buying or merging a company, and executing that efficiently and smartly can set you apart from the crowd. However, that’s only possible when you have an unwavering foundation — one that rests on a solid education and technical skills, practical work experience through internships and simulations, and a reliable network.