Dutch graduate Philip Prompers studied Finance and Law at the Duisenberg School of Finance and joined Baird's London Investment Banking department as an intern in summer 2012. In March 2013, Philip started as a Financial Analyst at Baird.
"Although I knew I always wanted to work in finance, I wanted to find a bank that had the right culture and the right people," says Philip. "Within the first week of my internship, I felt like a part of the team because there was such a supportive and open atmosphere between everyone at Baird."
For Philip, Baird's training was invaluable. "As an intern, Baird gives you the training you need for your work on your internship, but you're also free to participate in all the training sessions that are given at the analyst and associate level," says Philip. "In making the switch from university to M&A, the additional technical training proved to be very helpful."
Philip was also impressed by the level of responsibility he was given. "At Baird, the work you do during your internship is very similar to what you do as an analyst," says Philip, "which means you get exposure to seniors and play an involved role in deals."
Right away, Philip was working closely with an analyst, learning how to apply his knowledge from university to real scenarios, helping out with research and valuation analysis, as well as writing up documents such as marketing materials and information memorandums.
During his internship, Philip worked across a number of different sectors - that's because at Baird, no one specialises in a particular one until they're a vice president. For Philip, this was both challenging and exciting. "During my internship I went from oil and gas to business services, to consumer products," he says.
For Philip, having the chance to assist on live deals as an intern was one of the things he was impressed by the most, and because he was proactive and willing to get stuck in and help out, he asked to extend his internship for an extra two months, which ultimately led to a job offer.
Life as an analyst
After a short break after his internship, Philip started as an analyst at Baird in March 2013. His experience as an intern made his transition to analyst very smooth. "I'd say the work is still the same, but I have a lot more responsibility and ownership over the work I do," he says. "That's because I no longer have an analyst working above me so I'm reporting directly to an associate or vice president." For Philip, the greater independence he now has makes the work even more exciting: "Now, I'm the person who's giving the end product to my seniors, who are using it directly."
Within two weeks of starting as an analyst, Philip was placed on a live M&A deal where he got his first real exposure to clients. "I would get calls from the owner of the company or potential buyers," says Philip. "Being able to present your work directly to clients makes the job so much more rewarding."
Although Philip has found he now has a lot more autonomy, he still has access to a great network of other junior team members who are always happy to give each other guidance. "There's always a group of fellow analysts who might have done something similar to what you're working on before who you can approach if you need some guidance. For me, that's been extremely helpful."
Besides his day-to-day work, Philip says the biggest difference between life as an intern and analyst is his personal goals. "As an intern, you want to make sure you do your tasks right and hopefully come out the other side with a job," says Philip. "But once you're an analyst, you really start focusing more on the opportunities Baird offers in the longer term."
For example, Baird offers scholarships for MBAs, and Philip has ambitions to take his work further afield. "I'd like to go on secondment to the Chicago office," he says. "Now I'm an analyst, there are so many opportunities on offer at Baird."
This summer, just after his first deal, Philip was flown out to the bank's head office in Milwaukee, Wisconsin for three weeks of training alongside other Baird analysts from around the world. "Going to the US was my best time so far at Baird; it confirmed for me that Baird was the right choice," says Philip.
The training consisted of professional technical courses, where Philip had the chance to apply his theoretical knowledge gleaned at university to real life situations. Just as important was the more social part of the trip, which included a weekend in Chicago, where Philip and the other new joiners met the local US team, got to watch a baseball match, visited a comedy club and saw many of the city's highlights.
His time in the US was also a chance to network with other analysts and associates from the US and Asia. Says Philip: "Now that I'm back in London, I find I talk to US analysts on a weekly basis, if not daily. It was very helpful to get to know them."