A look back at the career of an alumnus of HEC Junior Conseil (an M&A)
Since 1971, HEC Junior Conseil has been bringing together motivated students from HEC Paris who are committed to providing the best possible support to their clients. It has more than 700 alumni, with as many different profiles and backgrounds. However, it is not uncommon to see HJC students initiate their professional career in the field of mergers and acquisitions. Together, we discover the career path of Guillaume Morand, president of the 2017-2018 HJC term, who now works at Goldman Sachs as an analyst in Investment Banking.
Hello Guillaume, can you tell us about your career ?
GM : I entered HEC after a pre-prep ECE at the lycée Henri IV. During my first year of school, I took a law degree and the "Djackpot Unchained" list of which I was president became the new HJC mandate. My investment with HJC has been substantial due to my role as president and my involvement in over twenty assignments during the term. During my break, I joined JP Morgan in M&A and then Cinven in PE. After a final year spent at Yale in dual degree and a year at JP Morgan as an analyst, I joined Goldman Sachs in investment banking.
What type of M&A transactions are you involved in?
Traditionally, the term "small cap" is used to define all transactions with a sale price of less than €30 million, "mid cap" between €30 million and €150 million and "large cap" greater than €200 million. However, this definition varies according to the banks and their size.
GM : At Goldman Sachs, I was part of a team that worked on mid cap deals in the American definition, i.e. deals ranging from 200 million to 6 billion. At JP Morgan, I worked in the large cap team that handled large deals like the merger between TF1 and M6. The definition of this type of transaction varies from country to country. Globally, I have mostly accompanied mergers with a strong sponsor exposure (transactions carried out by PE investment funds rather than strategic funds).
At Goldman Sachs, I worked on the fundraising of Backmarket and Vestiaire Collective. Globally, at GS, I am part of a team that is trying to rethink the definition of M&A. We want to follow players from the beginning, when they start to raise 100 million in funds, to the end, an IPO for example.
So this way of proceeding makes you work with different types of actors?
GM: At GS, we offer a more global vision, which is a strong growth driver at GS today. So I work with different divisions in investment banking. For example, we mix with financing teams to best meet the client's expectations. This way of doing things is actually a pretty strong vision in the identity of Goldman Sachs. As with most M&A cases, I have dealt with clients who are buying out their existing competitors in the market. We operate in a variety of markets, such as healthcare and campsites.
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What are the differences between small, medium and large companies?
GM: When you work on small or mid-sized companies, you have more exposure to management, you are closer to the CEO or the board of companies. You also have more autonomy. And above all, we see players who are smaller, and therefore often more dynamic in terms of transactions, like Backmarket. In the case of large cap companies, the large clients are less immediately involved in acquisition transactions.
What skills does an M&A analyst need?
GM: You have to be rigorous to constantly check your sources and make sure that what you present is true. An analyst must have the necessary curiosity to be able to follow the evolution of industries and markets and know how they work. You must also have the analytical skills to make sense of the data you are studying.
Are there similar qualities required in the HJC director and the M&A analyst?
GM: There is of course the curiosity to want to turn to customers, to markets. So you have to be comfortable with clients to be able to meet their needs. When you work at HJC, you also have to be rigorous because the administrators are autonomous on the mission they carry out. As for hard skills, you have to know how to structure a presentation, which you learn very quickly at HJC and which you use in M&A. Finally, working at HJC allows us to discover technical tools such as Excel, and working in M&A fills our last gaps in mastering these tools.
In the future, in which field do you wish to continue?
GM: Today, I am very satisfied with M&A. We'll have to see what happens in the future because being an analyst at firms like Goldman Sachs opens up a lot of opportunities.