Investment Banking Through the Eyes of a New Hire
My interest in investment banking slowly came to light throughout various internships that I pursued during my time at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. I began my internship career as a finance intern for Wisconsin Distributors, which shed light on the general finance world.
After this experience, I began exploring the capital marketplace, which led me to pursue an internship in wealth management for Morgan Stanley. Many of our clients were business owners, both generational and first generation-owned. After learning more about these clients’ businesses and long-term decisions regarding passing their company to the next generation or engaging in a sale process, I realized I wanted to work within the transactional side of finance.
I then began a private equity internship at Summit Group, where I assisted multiple transaction processes in the lower middle-market. The combination of these opportunities and experiences led me to uncover my passion for working on the sell-side of family- and founder-held businesses.
Fast forward to my decision of where to accept a full-time offer, I was between TKO Miller and a larger middle-market investment bank. After meeting with the TKO Miller team and hearing their perspectives on the work and their client base, I made the decision to join them and haven’t looked back since. Here are a few of my perspectives since joining TKO Miller.
Access to Senior Bankers
From day one, the TKO Miller team vocalizes their confidence and investment in the junior bankers and emphasizes the opportunities that will transform them into successful senior bankers. Junior bankers can sit in on calls, ask questions, and learn from some of the best and most tenured bankers in the industry. Because our deal teams are staffed with multiple actively involved senior bankers, you are given the opportunity to see first-hand how they deal with inevitable issues, client questions, and everyday tasks. The senior bankers at TKO Miller are actively involved in continued education and truly care about your future growth, which can’t be said about many other investment banks.
At TKO Miller, junior bankers may be given challenges and opportunities that aren’t normally seen at bulge bracket banks. Here, junior-level employees are typically staffed on a few deals at a time across various industries. Moreover, you are working with lean deal teams, which gives you the ability to take on and own certain tasks as well as establish strong relationships with your deal team.
In conversation with past colleagues who are now working at other regional, middle-market, and bulge-bracket banks, the vast difference between responsibilities and characteristics is prominent. Although they may be working typical investment banking hours, they aren’t being exposed to the unique responsibilities offered here at TKO Miller.
Working With Family- and Founder-Held Businesses
Working with family- and founder-held businesses adds a level of nuance and reward to investment banking. Being involved in these types of transactions requires a more personalized touch compared to the transactions at a bulge bracket bank. Many of our clients have owned and operated their businesses for decades. In some cases, the business has been in the family for generations. Being involved in the process of bringing a business of that magnitude to its next chapter, while keeping the founder’s legacies intact, offers a much different approach and I believe it to be much more rewarding.
It is not uncommon for bulge bracket banks to see extremely high turnover at all levels. Most of the junior and senior-level bankers at TKO Miller have been with the firm since its inception. Because of this, TKO Miller has had the opportunity to shape and solidify its workplace culture. Whether it is daily team lunches, happy hours, cruises down the Milwaukee River, holiday parties, or filming commercials with well-known collegiate athletes, there are always interesting and fun activities happening outside of the day-to-day work. Conversing with my junior-level colleagues about prospects and plans years down the road signals the confidence we have in staying with the firm in the long run. It is no secret this is not common in investment banking, and I think this is a major indicator of the firm’s strong culture and success.
In my brief tenure since joining TKO Miller, I have quickly learned the immense benefits of joining the firm and working with the colleagues and clients offered here.