The BlackArch analyst position represents an integral role, not only in terms of deal process execution, but also in the firm’s culture and foundation. Although a single description that fully captures the ‘ins and outs’ of a typical day as an analyst does not exist, there are several key foundational practices underlying the responsibilities that are critical to performing the job. Like most analysts, I joined BlackArch during my postgraduate summer feeling eager to jump in, but also uncertain about the transition from a full-time student to a full-time analyst. BlackArch helps to ease this passage with firm-wide involvement in recruiting, training and periodic performance feedback, thus enhancing analysts’ skill development throughout the program. BlackArch employs a hard-working team of individuals with strong interpersonal skills and the ability to manage multiple workstreams on a daily basis. My experience has largely been defined by the teamwork environment within the bullpen and the importance of learning from my senior associates’ best practices in approaching daily tasks. Due to the teamwork dynamic of deal execution, analysts are critical in supporting the team by helping to construct analyses, developing marketing materials, contributing to key internal team discussions and a number of other analytical and logistical support roles. Sell-side advisory engagements typically last from six to twelve months, and responsibilities touch on all stages of a deal process. Analysts are counted on to travel alongside senior bankers for in-person meetings with both clients and potential buyers. This level of exposure, especially during the due diligence stage, provides a first-hand look into potential buyer focus areas and further enhances analysts’ development of business acumen.
During my analyst experience, I was a part of two sell-side transactions from initial engagement through final closing. While these projects were in completely separate industries, both were founder-owned businesses that have grown into recognizable industry players that are well positioned for their next stage of growth. In addition, the respective founders were still active members of the management team committed to achieving the best outcome for the company they founded. In my first project, BlackArch represented a leading distributor operating within the business services space. This project consisted of a four-person internal deal team driving a targeted marketing approach to a buyer backed by a private equity group. Aside from being my first deal experience, this project was fundamental in my professional growth due to the constant, direct feedback from my team members as we collaborated together on a number of key deliverables. In addition, analysts work directly with management teams to gather, review and analyze data. I remember how nervous I felt sitting face-to-face with our client’s CFO for the first time, which is completely contrary to how friendly and productive I felt by the end of the process. This truly demonstrates the professional development opportunities analysts are exposed to during such a short period of time.
My second deal involved a sell-side process for a leading consumer services company – the largest player in its industry. This transaction process lasted for approximately one year and included a fair share of challenges that would likely make for a good academic case study. The company maintained massive amounts of company information and data to support its expansive national footprint. It was my responsibility not only to organize and manage company files, but also provide thoughtful insights and reviews on key findings. This deal process included multiple management presentations and abundant diligence requests. However, the challenges of this process were key to my growth as an analyst. By creating a collaborative, team-based work environment, BlackArch encourages analysts to make efficient and thoughtful contributions throughout the deal process, from initial engagement through final closing.
Outside of deal-related functions, analysts are also core to firm-wide recruiting, training, outings and marketing research groups. It is important to manage time and schedules in accordance with project needs, while tracking progress on all non-deal related functions. In addition, BlackArch values its societal impact and supports a number of organizations in the local Charlotte community. During my first year, I volunteered at a local elementary school to tutor a first-grader once per week. This is one of many examples in which BlackArch supports numerous philanthropic and charitable efforts, often led by analysts and associates.
Overall, the analyst position is an all-encompassing experience full of late nights and sometimes high-pressure work environments. However, the BlackArch analyst experience has equipped me with a breadth of skills that will be vital to my future professional performance and success. It is up to you to extract the most you possibly can out of the analyst experience, and I encourage you to approach it with an open ear and open eye, complemented by an eagerness to learn.