By Kristin Tassini, Class of 2019
After months of coffee chats, informationals, technical practice, and interviews, the time had finally arrived. I was starting my internship at Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BAML) in New York City as an Associate in the Merger and Acquisition (M&A) Investment Banking group. The internship started with a week of training from a “Training the Street” coach and then additional M&A specific training the following week from M&A analyst. After training, I was immediately given two deals to start off on. The first deal was a Canadian client looking to sell their German business to a South Korean private equity firm. The second deal was the same client looking to buy a Swedish company. Although working so internationally did have its downsides, i.e. working all of July 4th, it was such a great learning experience to hear different perspectives and customs from all around the world. Additionally, one of the exciting aspects of Investment Banking is the exposure to C-suite executives. For another deal, we were tasked with helping the management team sell their software company. I was constantly on the phone and in meetings with the CEO and CFO discussing valuations and the messaging when they were meeting with potential buyers. A main reason behind my decision to go back to BAML M&A fulltime is the amount of learning that I will continually receive on the job. No two deals are ever the same.
It is no secret that Investment Bankers work a lot of hours. With all that time in the office, the people that you work with become a crucial part of the experience. There were eight other associates in my intern class coming from other MBA programs including Wharton, Harvard, Duke Fuqua, and NYU Stern. We quickly became very close and made a concerted effort to eat our daily Seamless meals together (one perk of long hours is that you do get to expense your dinner through a meal delivery service called Seamless). I was very appreciative of this time we spent together as it brought a strong sense of community to our group, and we were able to take some time in the day to discuss (okay complain) about what we each were working on. I was also very lucky to have a great overall group of coworkers at BAML M&A. Everyone around you is very hardworking and intelligent and, once again, there is so much to learn from them.
The summer was not all work and no play. The M&A team put together several events including a day of activities at Governor’s Island (a 172 acre island in the heart of New York Harbor). They also had a chicken wing eating contest, ping-pong tournament, and on Friday’s everyone was encouraged to wear seer-sucker outfits. BAML had a volunteer day for interns where we spent a day with kids building art projects and they would hold intern-wide happy hours on various rooftops throughout New York. One of the best events was a wine-tasting with the senior women bankers in the firm. They were very candid about their experience and how the firm had helped and supported them throughout their careers. Overall I had a busy but fulfilling summer and I look forward to going back for full-time next year.