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Boutique Middle Market Investment Banking from a New Hire’s Perspective

Most undergraduate business majors have a similar perspective on what the investment banking industry looks like. The general consensus is that one must sell their soul to the devil to make their start in the industry. They will sign their freedom away to a Jordan-Belfort-esque boss.

While a couple of the managing directors at TKO Miller enjoy a weekend of boating on Lake Michigan, I’ve yet to see one of them crash-land a helicopter or sink a yacht.  Working for a firm that prides themselves on serving family and founder held businesses has delivered a very different experience from the stereotypes permeating in college classrooms. Here are a few things I’ve noticed since joining TKO Miller.

Junior Employees Don’t Actively Look for Exit Opportunities

Many recent college graduates accept a job as a place-holder or because they believe that it can serve as a stepping stone to a position they really want. At bulge bracket banks it’s common for junior employees to openly discuss new career prospects and exit opportunities with their peers. Contrarily, junior employees at TKO Miller are fully invested in their current positions. Working with colleagues who thoroughly enjoy their work and take a holistic approach to serving the firm has provided an excellent introduction to the industry.   

Effective Client Facing is Crucial

Representing companies operating in the middle market is a personal business. Many owners want to be very involved in the sell-side process, and deservedly so. Some TKO Miller clients have owned and operated their businesses for 30+ years. I’ve seen the importance of understanding an owner’s attachment and care for his or her business and employees. This means playing a strong supporting role for the senior level bankers while they work to understand a client’s needs and cater the process to meet those needs.  


In the brief time since I joined the TKO Miller team, they have demonstrated a wide breadth of experience and industry knowledge and none of the stereotypes that many college students buy into.  


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