My Summer in Investment Banking

By Tamy Chen

I spent this past summer as an Investment Banking (“IB”) Analyst at CIBC World Markets. I am officially a Technology, Media and Telecom (“TMT”) IB analyst but at CIBC, TMT is placed within Diversified Industries Group (“DIG”). The greatest thing about that was my ability to straddle both groups; I got mainly TMT work but occasionally worked on DIG files as well.

My summer in IB was amazing. Yes, the hours sometimes were long by traditional standards but I really enjoyed the work and what I did so I was never really bothered by it. I also did not mind coming in on the weekends and I really liked my pit (the area of my group where the analysts and associates sit).

My tasks began with PowerPoint designs, making charts and graphs, grabbing research, and of course, binding and printing when needed. I also updated the TMT comparable companies (“comps”) when they released their financial statements.  That for me was a great experience because with the assistance of my full-time TMT Analyst, I became really familiarized with those companies and overall improved my financial statements analysis abilities. One of the main reasons why I enjoy IB is because I actually love understanding a company through gathering analysis and conclusions from their financial statements.

My two key projects this summer were the proposed sale of a mid-sized technology firm and an engaged sell-side transaction of a start-up tech firm. The first was, in a nutshell, a “beauty contest”. That is when a company looking to engage in some sort of transaction and has several banks submit pitches to decide which firm to hire as a financial advisor. I worked closely with my TMT Analyst and Associate; this project exposed me to all the main valuation techniques from DCF to precedent transactions, comps and LBO. I took the handle in gathering precedent transactions and I learned a lot about the various alternatives in conducting a sale. Then, I also got to listen in to my Managing Director and Executive Director present to the client which was pretty cool.

My second main project officially kicked off (we were engaged) in mid-summer and unlike a beauty contest, my work focused primarily on preparing the Confidential Information Memorandum (“CIM”) and other tasks related to supporting the actual sale process. This includes helping update the contact log after our senior coverage team contacts potential buyers, managing the Internal Data Room for when buyers submit Indications of Interest and request more information for due diligence, and so on. I worked a lot on the CIM (which is fundamentally a more in-depth version of a Teaser. It goes through an industry analysis of the space the target company is in, more detailed financial performance and forecasts, supply chain disclosure, organizational structure, patents, technologies used and so on). What was great about this experience was the exposure to a real, or live, deal – basically the sell-side processes described in my beauty pageant project were actually being applied.

I had a very rewarding summer and that was due to my great work environment and the positive attitude I put to the job. I came in knowing all the tasks a Summer Analyst may be asked to do, I came in knowing full well the hours I’d have to commit but I knew this is an investment in my knowledge and career development.

I also believe what ultimately landed me a full-time offer was my attitude and work ethic. I’ll be the first to point out I am certainly no expert in IB technicals. I am not a tech expert either. I made mistakes, I had to learn a lot on the job, but as long as you have the fundamentals and a quick ability to learn, the advanced ideas can be taught. When you show enthusiasm for the job and take in feedback (and also ask for feedback) and improve on them, that’s a differentiator.

But of course, this summer is also a learning experience about you. If you find this was not the career for you, which I’ve seen in other interns this summer, then that’s also valuable insight. You walk away with a very informative summer about finance, about business and about yourself but make sure that you still remain professional and keep a work ethic until you finish the job. There’s nothing worse than leaving with a bad impression of being a slacker even if you aren’t trying to get a full-time offer.

So I guess I will sum up my personal takeaways and advice for aspiring bankers:

  • Be humble (you do not know more than your full-time Analysts and Associates),
  • Be positive (you’re only in this for 4 months; the full-timers are here to stay! You can catch up on sleep during school) but most importantly,
  • Be hungry: Your summer in IB will only be as good as the attitude you give when you walk into the pit every day