Breaking into Investment Banking
Name: David de Klerk
Current occupation: Investment Banking Analyst at Van Lanschot Kempen
Study: MSc Financial Economics at the Erasmus University Rotterdam
“Why did you choose a career in investment banking”
From an early age, I was interested in financial markets. When I followed my first courses in corporate finance, this increased my interest in the financial field. Especially the micro aspect of corporate finance; I enjoy sizing up a company in great detail.
“You mentioned early experience contributed greatly to the opportunity of starting as an analyst for Van Lanschot Kempen, could you elaborate?”
Certainly, as of the third year of my degree, I started specializing in finance. The grades I obtained during that time and after opened opportunities with regard to an M&A internship at NIBC. In general, I believe that with regard to applying for a job, grades serve as some sort of a minimum. You do not necessarily need 10’s, but relatively good grades inform a potential employer more than a cover letter. Good grades regarding financial subjects communicated an interest in finance that resulted in an internship and a starting position at Rembrandt Mergers & Acquisitions at a later stage.
“How did you experience the interviews at Van Lanschot Kempen?”
For the motivation/fit-related questions the 400 questions to get into Investment Banking provided me with ideas on how to structure my response. For technical details I looked back at the lectures I received whilst getting my masters in Financial Economics. Van Lanschot Kempen’s interview also included a strategic case; I prepared this case by looking at videos from McKinsey consultants. To give you an idea of what an investment case might look like: I was asked to come up with the value of the headquarters of a rival bank.
“Could you describe your experience at Van Lanschot Kempen so far?”
I have greatly enjoyed the past 14 months at the firm. The team is quite large, consisting of sixty people. However, of these sixty people, there are around thirty analysts or associates, which makes for a very vibrant and young culture. Every Friday Night there will be drinks with colleagues and besides that, there are many events planned for us; such as the Christmas party in the A’dam Tower in December.
Professionally, I have had the opportunity to work on exciting projects. These opportunities are what drew me to Van Lanschot Kempen in the first place. The highlight of my previous 14 months has to be the public tender offer for Boskalis. To be able to cooperate on one of the rare public-to-private transactions in the Netherlands has been delightful.
“How did you find the opportunities to explore your interests within investment banking?”
At Van Lanschot Kempen, you can choose to join one of 2 product teams: Equity Capital Management (ECM) and Debt Advisory, or one of 5 sector teams: Real Estate, Life Sciences & Healthcare, Infrastructure, Corporate Advisory, and Tech & Fintech. After gaining experience within your first team in your first year, you have the opportunity to do a rotation within a different team to broaden your view and experience. Should you like to gain experience as part of a different team, you can decide to transfer at that moment in time.
“What do your day-to-day activities look like?”
Well, that really depends on what part of the process you would be working on. I would estimate that 60-70% of our work regards execution. Execution tasks regard working on a specific deal. An example of an execution workstream is the drafting of marketing materials for potential investors to make a deliberate investment decision. Other work streams include due diligence coordination, drafting of transaction documentation and screening for potential investors. The other 30-40% of activities relate to origination work. Origination work relates to sourcing new deals. The activities that are part of origination are things such as making pitch books or modeling certain businesses/industries. These activities are done so we get a good idea of potential clients and industries. I am part of the Benelux team, so I get to witness several industries. I enjoy the diversity that comes along with that.
“Many students would like to know how many hours you will be spending as an analyst in investment banking, what would you estimate?”
I would say on average, 60 hours per week. This is not London after all. Some weeks this can be a bit more and other weeks this might be a little less. If the deal requires it, you might at times even work during the weekend. However, at Van Lanschot Kempen, this is very rare.
“What would be your main takeaway for students that are currently aspiring to start in investment banking?”
Well, my biggest tip is for them to really think about why they want this job. What are their true motivations behind this choice? If you can clearly reason why you are looking to start in investment banking, this will be very useful during interviews. You will be answering the same question, be it to someone else. In the interviews, one of the main points is to make sure you can convince the other party of your ambition to have a career within this industry.
Interested in Investment Banking and working at Van Lanschot Kempen?
Apply now for the Corporate Finance Competition 2023! This is a two-day event at the Duin & Kruidberg estate. During the Corporate Finance Competition, you will get to know ABN AMRO, Rabobank, Van Lanschot Kempen, and ING through case studies, informal drinks, and dinners. This year's event will take place on the 7th and 8th of February. Participation in the event is free and includes lunch, breakfast, informal drinks, dinner with the partners, and hotel accommodation.
Participation will be based on CV selection. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at email@example.com. The deadline to apply is 29 January at 23:59.