March 19, 2018 by texasbbacareerservices
Graduation Year: May 2015
Major/Minor: Energy Finance / Accounting
Current Title: Analyst; Energy Investment Banking
Please tell us about your career path and how you found your way to Stifel.
My journey to Stifel and investment banking in general was far from the typical route. Coming out of college, I quite honestly had no idea what I wanted to do. I knew that I wanted to do something finance related and that I had an interest in the oil and gas industry, but didn’t know if I wanted to do oil and gas finance full time. Growing up in Midland and having a dad who is in the oil and gas industry caused me to develop an interest in oil and gas from an early age, but I wanted to see what other industries were out there before settling into a career path. This led me to applying for a position as an Underwriting Associate for Comerica Bank in Dallas in their middle market lending group. The position interested me because I would get the opportunity to see companies in a wide range of industries and see if any businesses outside the oil and gas industry would catch my interest. At Comerica, I learned a great deal about a variety of different industries while arranging financing for companies ranging from heavy equipment manufacturers to advertising firms. Although I enjoyed working at Comerica, I found my interest gravitating back toward the oil and gas industry after talking to my brother who had recently taken a job in oil and gas finance.
I also wanted the opportunity to work on a larger variety of transactions and learn how companies function across all parts of their capital structure rather than just focusing on the debt piece which inspired me to apply for oil and gas investment banking positions in Houston. I wanted to work at a boutique bank where I would be able to take on a lot of responsibility and have more direct relationships with oil and gas companies early on. After a few months of reaching out to people in the industry and asking everyone I could think of if they knew of any banks with open positions, I found Stifel. Stifel checked all of the boxes of what I wanted in an investment bank and provided the nimble and fast growing nature of a boutique bank combined with the platform of a bulge bracket.
What do you like about working for Stifel?
The Stifel energy group has provided the perfect platform to grow my knowledge of finance and the oil and gas industry. I like working in the Stifel energy group because it has been exciting to work in a new group and participate in its growth. I was also able to take on plenty of responsibility early on and work directly with our managing director and vice president (recently promoted to director) when I was staffed on an oil and gas joint venture in the Gulf of Mexico which I found extremely interesting and rewarding. During this process, I was able to meet directly with clients while building and maintaining the company’s financial model. It was exiting getting the opportunity to work directly with clients even though I was just an analyst.
The work environment and the level of responsibility provided at an analyst level are all good qualities, but what really sets Stifel apart are its people. The people I work with are among my best friends and some of the most intelligent people that I have ever met. I have always felt comfortable asking questions and my bosses have always been there to encourage growth.
Stifel also provides the opportunity to work on a large variety of transactions through the various companies that it has acquired to build its platform throughout the years. My group has worked closely with both Stifel’s restructuring group (Miller Buckfire) as well as its sponsor arm (Eaton Partners). Collaboration across the various groups and getting to learn more about what they focus has been very rewarding and given me a broader knowledge base of the finance industry.
What does this job/internship entail?
Analysts typically work on two types of projects, pitches and live deals. A pitch usually entails putting together various research and financial analysis about a company for a proposed transaction. These can range in complexity from simple credential pitches to intricate proposed M&A transactions. The goal of a pitch is to get the company to sign a letter of engagement so that you can begin working on accomplishing the transaction proposed in the pitch. After the letter of engagement is signed, the deal becomes “live”. During live deals, you will be working with the company on various pieces of due diligence, building and maintaining a company model, and helping with the creation of investor presentations. During both of these, analysts work primarily in Excel and PowerPoint while monitoring emails with urgent requests or new information.
What skills make a person successful in this position?
I think that the most important thing about being an investment banking analyst is keeping a good attitude and working hard each and every day. The hours and stress can sometimes feel overwhelming early on, but having a good attitude can help you push through the late hours. In other words, attitude outweighs aptitude every day. Bringing a sense of curiosity to work is also very important and necessary to learn every day. Another important skill to have is seeing the bigger picture and finding the deeper meaning behind the analysis that you are running. It is easy to get lost in the weeds, but seeing the forest through the trees is key.
Please share your general career advice?
General career advice would include learning as much as you can each and every day, asking questions when you don’t understand something, and not being afraid to fail. Taking ownership of your work and going the extra mile while focusing on the finer details will also be helpful in any career. Reaching out to other people in the industry and increasing knowledge of a daily basis will help you find success early on by saving you time and benefiting off of others’ existing knowledge base. Overall, not getting discouraged, staying motivated, and being genuinely interested in your career will pay massive dividends down the line. Just take one day at a time and focus on the task at hand while not losing sight of the bigger picture.
Learn more: Don’t miss Stifel’s Coffee Chats on April 25 from 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. See details and sign-up via RecruitMcCombs!