Feeling Welcomed at Cook M&A

Name: Sarah Sbar

Year: Sophomore

Major(s): Economics, English

Minor(s): Business Institutions Program

CFS Class: Business Field Studies

Employer: Cook M&A Advisory Services

This winter, I worked at Cook M&A Advisory Services as an M&A Research Analyst, and I had an amazing experience. At Cook M&A, I had the opportunity to lead my own projects, and it was exciting to take on that responsibility and make tangible contributions to the firm.

One of the most interesting takeaways from my job was realizing that there are so many different ways people can make money. In my time at Cook M&A, I identified potential platform and add-on acquisition targets in a variety of industries, ranging from food service equipment distribution to special needs transportation. Cook M&A is willing to conduct research in any sector a private equity firm wants to make an investment in, and the opportunity to research a wide array of sectors and gain an informed sense of what those markets looked like was invaluable. All of the industries I researched were completely different, and it was interesting to see such a wide range of profitable business models, especially in industries I didn’t even know existed.

Another big takeaway from my experience was seeing the different ways private equity firms approach the investment process. Some private equity firms had a very specific idea of what they were looking for, whether it was a strategic add-on or a platform company with certain differentiating factors. Other firms were open to making acquisitions in a variety of industries, as these firms were more interested in simply deploying capital.

However, the best part of my job was the people I worked with. Everyone at Cook M&A is incredibly nice, and when I first began working, I felt immediately welcomed as everyone went out of their way to ensure I had a smooth transition and understood my responsibilities completely. Although the majority of my work at Cook M&A was research based and could easily have functioned as one-person tasks, everyone in the office went out of their way to help me find potential target companies and come up with more efficient research methods.