By Drish Israni
This summer, I interned at the Investment Banking Division of YES Bank, the 5th largest privately-owned bank in India. I served as a summer analyst in the Healthcare and Industrials group, covering companies from pharmaceuticals, chemicals, and health services to agricultural, machinery, and pipes, to name a few.
As an investment banking intern, I had the opportunity to work on two live deals, as well as several efforts to advise or raise capital. Unfortunately, due to the highly sensitive and confidential nature of the business, I am bound by an NDA (non-disclosure agreement) to withhold all information regarding the deals I worked on, including, but not limited to, the names of the companies, the nature of their business, reasons for hiring, etc. While I am unable to share the details of the deals I worked on, I would love to share what I learned from my experience.
My role as the junior-most member of the team encompassed a culmination of qualitative information gathering, as well as quantitative analysis. As for the qualitative part - before we pitched a deal, advised a client, or put together any marketing material, I was required to gain an understanding of the business and the industry the business operated in and subsequently summarize the information for my seniors. Much like any paper at Haverford, I had to work through my readings, in this case, the Company Financial Reports, Sector Analyses, and Industry Reports, then develop a hypothesis about the company and industry and finally, write a concise paper, or email. The only true difference was that instead of writing a 5 to 10-page paper, I was forced to condense all the information into a single page or less; which turned out to be quite a task initially, but within the first attempt, I was able to adapt my learnings to the professional world!
On the other hand, for the quantitative part of my experience, I worked on spreading data from Financial Reports, calculating and comparing relevant financial metrics, applying regression analysis to understand correlations, and even helping put together two valuations – a Comparable Company Analysis and a Precedent Transaction Analysis. As with any finance-related internship, this was the most exciting part of my experience!
As should be clear from the brief description of my experience, most of my time was spent between PowerPoint and Excel, with a few hours scouting for information on financial portals such as Bloomberg, Venture Intelligence, and FactSet. To my fortune, this experience has allowed me to get much quicker and comfortable with both these Mircosoft Office tools, and taught me the importance of learning the hotkeys and eye-pleasing presentation of information.
The two most important takeaways from my experience in Investment Banking would be my practical understanding of finance and the power of Excel.
First, I’ve come to realize that financial valuation and modeling is simply moving numbers around and making calculated assumptions to answer questions. Numbers give us answers. But what’s most important to understand is that the derived answer is not always correct, as with any mathematical solution. There are a lot of assumptions and decisions we make to get our answer. Therefore, in order to get the right answer, we must understand the context of the applied numbers, compare the numbers to similar data, and leverage all qualitative knowledge to apply to the numbers in a way that correctly fits the piece in the whole. This is much like solving a math equation at a Haverford class: you deconstruct the question or equation, apply your knowledge of any formula or theory, and carefully work through to get an answer. While applying the correct formula/theory gives the right answer to a mathematics equation, making the most accurate
assumptions gives the right answer to the valuation exercise.
Second, I learned first-hand the applications of Excel as a calculator, tool, and spread-sheet to achieve unlimited possibilities and answer an array of questions. I know I have a lot more to learn about the software, but I have recognized its practicality, simplicity, and potential, which has motivated me to become more knowledgeable and proficient in using the software. I know that no matter which path I take forward in my life, Excel will help me become more efficient and effective in my work and answering the questions that come my way!