Christopher Gets Hands-On Experience in Investment Banking


Name: Christopher Becker

Year: Sophomore

Major(s): Economics and Mathematics

Minor: Business Institutions and Latin

CFS Class: Field Studies in the Humanities

Employer: Dresner Partners

This quarter, I am interning at Dresner Partners, a boutique investment bank in Chicago that primarily handles sell-side transactions of middle market firms in the industrial, consumer, and healthcare industries. When I got to Dresner, I had to hit the ground running, as there is no formal training process. Even though the learning curve is steep, the other interns and I were able to pick things up quickly and adjust to our new days. As an investment bank, Dresner acts as an advisor to any business that wants to sell itself, buy another business, raise capital, or restructure a part of its business. In short, we act as a mediary to facilitate large transactions and occurrences which these businesses cannot manage efficiently on their own.

As an intern, my day to day is typically consumed with three major tasks: industry research, building pitch decks, and sourcing targets and comparables. The least time consuming but most mentally stimulating part of my job involves industry research. This involves looking for trends in the broader middle market M&A (mergers and acquisitions) industry along with researching individual trends for industries of specified companies. Finding information can often be tedious as you quickly learn that many different resources provide wildly different information. On a daily basis, it is up to me to determine which information is correct and relevant.

The most important part of my day involves building pitch decks. Investment banks use pitch decks to essentially try and sell their services to a firm looking for an advisor, as they are competing with other investment banks to sell their services. As an intern, I have a lot of power to dictate the business that Dresner receives, as I build a large portion of the pitch deck. My work involves writing a company summary, industry summary, comparables overview, and targets overview. While this work is very tedious, as you quickly learn about all the necessary nitpicking details required for formatting slides, it is also the most fulfilling to see how you contributed to the bank as a whole.

The most technical part of my day involves selecting comparables and finding targets. Selecting comparables includes finding public companies that are similar to the company you are advising and finding precedent transactions that were similar to the company you are advising. These comparables are used to give a relative valuation of your advised company. Finding targets is used to show companies you are pitching to that you have a game plan for how you will attack their transaction. In addition, it is necessary to initiate the transaction. I use a common financial resource, CapitalIQ, to source this information.

Overall, I find my work to be very interesting and fulfilling. Everyone in the office seems to take a great pride in what they do, and I find that very refreshing compared to other activities and jobs I have done. As my internship moves on, I hope to get more responsibility and build on what I have already learned.