Greenhill Careers & Interview Tips

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Are you considering to work in a M&A pure play or advisory only investment bank? Then Greenhill is for you. Take a look at the following guide on Greenhill Careers and interview tips.

Greenhill Investment Bank: An Overview

greenhill careersGreenhill & Co. is one of the classic elite boutique investment banks. It was founded in 1996 by Bob Greenhill, former head of Smith Barney and President of Morgan Stanley where he worked for 30 years. The firm went public in 2006 but is still majority owned by the bank’s MDs.

Unlike its counterparts among the boutique investment banks, Greenhill remains as a pure advisory firm focusing on M&A and restructuring and capital raising advice (only advice, no underwriting). Its independence from other businesses also allows the company to stand out as a bank with no conflict of interest.

Greenhill is headquartered in New York, with offices in Chicago, Dallas, Houston, LA and San Francisco. International offices include Toronto, London, Frankfurt, Tokyo, Sao Paulo, Sydney and Melbourne.

Greenhill Careers, Prospect and Culture

Firm’s culture overall is extremely strong. Great camaraderie among analysts and associates, and managing directors are responsive to analysts. Given that many mid-level people have recently left the firm, analysts are now working directly with MDs.” ~ Vault Report

Note: mid-level people departure refers to the exodus of associates (mainly in NY office) as a result of poor compensation in 2010.

Pros

  • Greenhill bankers are humble and smart at the same time.
  • Friendly, team-work oriented colleagues.
  • Very flat organization. Junior analysts get a lot of responsibility.

Cons

  • You may get stuck with the same group of people at AND after work, even if you prefer to spend more time with your friends and family.
  • There has been incidents in 2010 that compensation was disappointing and morale was low at that time.

The Greenhill Interview

There are typically 2 (and possibly 3) rounds of interview. Greenhill focuses on few target schools (see below): they go for campus interviews, followed by superdays. Superdays are final round of interviews in which candidates will have 4-6 relatively long interviews (~ 45 minutes) with bankers from analysts to MDs.

For non-target school candidates or lateral hires, phone interviews are arranged for the first round.

How to Excel in a Greenhill Interview

Greenhill looks for candidates who will stay and become MDs in the firm. In this regards, you’ll need to highlight your strengths in the following aspects:

1. Know the Answer of Why Greenhill

I bet they will ask you this question: why Greenhill? You will have to do a fairly detailed research on the company including the recent deals and issues.

For example, you can analyze why Greenhill’s business was relatively poor a few years back. Is it a result of a M&A pure play, or is it due to the fact that Greenhill has zero presence in the Asia ex Japan region which is experiencing the highest grow for the last few years?

More importantly, you will need to articulate why you want to be part of Greenhill and only Greenhill. It could be that you like advisory-only firms, or better yet, something with a more personal touch such as you meant someone working at Greenhill and you really like him/her.

If your network covers anyone working in this company, you are at a much better position.

2. Present Yourself as Well Rounded Individual

Successful candidates are likely to be self-starters, social and mature.” ~ Analyst at Greenhill

They like excellence in academics, with good technical skills and good interpersonal skills. If you have impressive achievements at school, they will make your resume shine.

Cultural fit is not as emphasized when compared to Evercore, but I think they do look for people who work well as a team.

3. Brush Up Your Technical Skills

Similar to other boutique firms, Greenhill does not provide comprehensive, 1-month long training for analysts and associates. Everyone is expect to perform and contribute on Day 1. It is natural that they much prefer candidates with solid technical skills

A Note on Target Schools

Given their scale it is understandable that they focus their recruiting manpower in only 7-8 schools (e.g. UVA, Penn, NYU, Texas). Their top candidates would be those from top schools with demonstrated interest in finance.

Your Action Plan

Its small analyst class means it is very difficult to get a slot. But if you get yourself well prepared, you will be better positioned than 95% of the candidates out there.

Take the time to craft your resume to highlight your well-rounded achievement. Then, go over Greenhill website, your corporate finance materials and better yet, get help from sample questions from insiders. Good luck!

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