Switching Sides: an experience greater than the sum of its parts
With a CFA charter in hand and a keen interest in all things Finance, I had always wanted to try my hand at Investment Banking. A few years down the line as a Management Consultant, having tried a range of due diligence, business planning and cost restructuring projects, the itch for deal-making had barely been scratched. Within two years of joining Delta Partners, the perfect opportunity presented itself to me: I was invited to conduct a six-month rotation in Delta Partners’ Investment Banking division in Johannesburg, South Africa!
Armed with my Management Consulting skills, my laptop and an open mind, I set forth to conquer the world of Investment Banking in South Africa. Little did I know, the professional challenge and learning I would be exposed to for the next six months would stretch me in ways I had never imagined.
Many skills that I had developed as a Management Consultant came in handy once I started my role as an Investment Banker. My Investment Banking colleagues appreciated the quality of my presentations, which communicated information in a visually appealing manner, yet retaining the essence of the message. These skills were developed through countless hours of preparing and fine-tuning slide decks that “answer the key exam question” and convey MECE1 analyses. Clients valued my creative problem-solving and communication skills honed through multiple projects and workshops solving complicated business problems and having to communicate and convince others of the efficacy of such solutions. Additionally, my superiors appreciated my ability to execute in ever-challenging circumstances and “get the job done”.
With the help and guidance of my Investment Banking colleagues, I further enhanced my skillset to compliment what I had learned as a Management Consultant. I significantly strengthened my valuation skills – applying a range of valuation methodologies using a range of financial databases and toolkits. I was tasked with valuing businesses with differing characteristics and I quickly learned the nuances of how to cater, practically, for such differences. Prioritisation skills came to the forefront as I was responsible for running 3 – 4 transaction processes, in addition to preparing business development pitches, at any given time. Each transaction had a unique set of challenges, but all with a high level of urgency and importance for each of the clients involved. This enabled me to develop a dynamic approach to work and sharpen my expectation management skills. Furthermore, I was involved in multiple transaction negotiations, giving me an appreciation of transaction documentation and the practicalities required to get the deal done, e.g. negotiating a share purchase agreement, the practical differences between a sale of shares in a business and a sale of assets, etc.
Through this experience, I can safely say that Delta Partners has offered me (and many others) a unique opportunity to seek out tailored growth opportunities across various domains within the TMT2 space, including subject matter, division and geography. It has been enabled, in no small part, due to Delta’s:
- World-class Investment Banking, Management Consulting and Investment teams led by highly experienced seniors;
- Flexible staffing and established secondment policies, supported by an entrepreneurial culture that brings these policies to life; and
- Global offices offering both Management Consulting and Investment Banking (including Dubai, Johannesburg and Singapore) allowing geographic mobility in addition to division mobility
Six months later, with a little less hair and a closed deal to my name, I believe spending time in the Investment Banking division contributed significantly towards making me a more rounded advisor to my clients. The Investment Banking team allowed me the opportunity to add a range of skills (both soft and hard) to my strategy advisory toolkit through first-hand exposure to M&A transactions and to inspiring and driven colleagues, from whom I learned a lot. Overall, this has been a transformational and fulfilling experience, which was for me, greater than the sum of its parts.
Russell is a Senior Consultant in the Dubai office, who has recently conducted a six-month transfer to the Investment Banking team in Johannesburg, South Africa. He has worked on projects across Europe, Africa, Middle East and the Carribbean. Russell has a Bachelor’s degree in Actuarial Science from the University of Cape Town in South Africa and is a CFA charterholder.
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