Adam Woodall studied Business Administration at the University of Bath and completed a Masters degree in Strategic Management at Lund University in Sweden. Following work experience as an intern at BNY Mellon in Risk and as a Business Development Analyst at Glencore, Adam interned at Greenhill. He is now a 2nd Year Analyst.
Tell us about an average day at Greenhill.
An average day will typically involve work on a client presentation of which the contents can vary depending on the sector, the client and the topic of discussion. Examples of some of the presentations that I have created involve looking into acquisition targets for pharmaceuticals companies, licensing / joint venture agreements in the luxury sector, and financial defence work in the food ingredients sector.
The common variable is that presentations typically involve research into annual reports and company presentations and the use of databases so as to create and present analysis in both qualitative and quantitative form. The qualitative analysis might comprise the description of key takeaways with regards to industry trends and looking into the pros and cons of a certain strategic decision (i.e. an acquisition). The quantitative analysis could involve looking at the potential valuation of acquisition targets, i.e. how much is a company that a client could look at buying potentially worth.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
The most enjoyable part of my role is the fact that my focus as an Analyst is more on the strategic side of thinking rather than simply number crunching, with most of this strategic thinking ultimately ending up on the end desk of C-Suite Executives, i.e. company CEOs and CFOs.
What non-academic skills or experiences at university best prepared you for your career at Greenhill?
From a non-academic standpoint, competing for the University of Bath tennis team served as good preparation as it fostered a skill of organising my time effectively, while also helping to create leadership skills which come in useful as you progress during your Analyst years at Greenhill.
Furthermore, studying abroad in Canada for a semester was a highly useful part of my University experience given that I interact with Greenhill’s North American offices on a frequent basis. I.e. the communication skills and understanding of a different culture which my Exchange helped develop, has proven useful in my role.
Why did you pick Greenhill?
I picked Greenhill because the firm was small enough in terms of headcount to enable me to work more directly with senior individuals not just internally but in terms of client interaction too.
What did the application process involve?
The application process involved an initial CV and cover letter submission, followed by an initial interview with Freshminds, a further interview with Freshminds and then in my case a Skype interview with three senior level individuals at the firm (given that I was on Exchange in Canada). If you are in the UK, the final stage in the recruitment process will involve a ‘Super Sunday’ whereby numerous interviews take place in London’s Greenhill office with employees of varying levels of seniority.
What has surprised you about your role or the firm, since joining Greenhill?
The level of interaction with C-Suite Executives, the ability to join client meetings and the mix between strategy and finance offered by the role have all been positively surprising.
What advice would you give to students thinking of applying to Greenhill?
My advice would be to first understand if you want to work in M&A and from there look at the differences between bulge bracket and boutique firms.
Has your non-financial undergraduate degree held you back in any way?
90% of the time, having not studied an outright finance degree has not hindered me. Having said this, I did study several modules in accounting and corporate finance. My advice coming from a non-finance background is that you should take a bit of time understanding accounting basics such as EBITDA, non-recurring items (and thus adjusted EBITDA), given that trawling through annual reports is a large part of an Analyst’s job.