Bright Network member, Jonathan has recently been offered the role of Analyst at Lazard. Jonathan is currently studying Economics at the University of Warwick. Read on for his experiences and tips for those who want to follow in his footsteps.
Why did you choose this company and role?
Buzzwords aside, my experience with the firm was that of a supportive, collaborative, and friendly environment in which I believe I can strive and learn.
For anyone considering a career in finance, Lazard needs no further introduction. Lazard is a prestigious and historic financial advisory firm - the 'granddaddy of M&A' pretty much invented the industry of M&A half a century ago.
Buzzwords aside, my experience with the firm was that of a supportive, collaborative, and friendly environment in which I believe I can strive and learn. Also, deal team sizes are smaller than those you see at a Bulge Bracket, which means more responsibility, more exposure, and more interaction with senior bankers. It's a cliché, but the people I met were the reason that I am returning as a full time analyst.
As to investment banking itself, it's an efficient working environment where I can best deliver. The intense nature and hours of the work mean that I would arguably learn more in my next three years than graduates in any other industry. You work on transactions that shift industries, being at the forefront of these seismic industry trends is a prospect that I look forward to.
Please tell us about the application process - what did you have to do?
Following the initial screening, there were three stages. The first one involved a case study and an interview with HR representatives. The second was an Assessment Centre which included a group discussion, and a presentation exercise. For the final part there were three interviews with senior bankers from Lazard.
What did you find was the most difficult part of the application process?
The Assessment Centre was probably the most difficult part of the application process, especially the presentation. You needed to sift through a huge amount of materials under time constraints – you simply don’t have time to read everything thoroughly, but you need to identify the important points and present it to a VP with structure and organisation, whilst appreciating the bigger picture.
What was the most enjoyable part of the application process?
I enjoyed the final round interviews with senior bankers. It might come as a surprise – how can three interviews back to back where you can get quizzed on anything be enjoyable? I personally enjoyed them because there were some very interesting and thought provoking discussions ranging from general current affairs and commercial awareness to my views on society, and from life goals to personal philosophy.
How did you prepare for the application process?
For competencies stages such as the group discussion and presentation, the best preparation was probably to make sure you get some good quality rest the night before the Assessment Centre. For interviews, make sure you make reading newspapers a genuine habit so you do it every day, and that you actually understand the key issues and are therefore able to articulate your views clearly and succinctly.
What top tips would you give to someone who wanted to follow in your footsteps?
Tip 1: Be persistent
Apply early and keep applying until you get the offer you want – if you are a good candidate, you will eventually get an offer. Even if the odds are against you to begin with, I am a believer of trying, failing, and trying again.
Tip 2: Find the balance
Be confident and come across as someone who knows what they are talking about, whilst not being arrogant.
Tip 3: Make the internship count
On the internship itself, I guess the best tip is to be considerate and think about how your work can help the analysts and associates you work with. Pay attention to detail and look out for minor things - that will help you go a long way.
Many thanks to Jonathan for sharing his thoughts and advice. If you are interested in learning more about Lazard's opportunities, click here.