‘I learnt new things, literally every day’: My internship journey in M&A at CG Results International

Vinay Saraiwala

Vinay joined CG Results International as an Analyst in March 2020, following a successful internship in M&A. He currently works across CG Results’ three sectors and with each member of the team.

My Internship in M&A

Up until 2014, the iPhone was just a device that I wanted to get my hands on and Beats were just a pair of headphones I wanted to own. However, halfway through the year in 2014, I remember reading a news article which said that Apple had agreed to buy Beats for $3bn. The 18-year-old in me couldn’t help but think if he could get both the products for the price of one, then that was a deal well done.

My fascination for M&A was triggered in that moment and if there’s one profession that I’ve wanted to pursue ever since, it’s M&A. Now, we are all human and just being fascinated with something doesn’t help you realise your goals – I had my doubts. What if I wasn’t good at it? What if I didn’t have it in me to do a Google-Android deal or the next Disney-Pixar deal? The only way I could have answered these questions was to try it out. To put myself in an environment where deal-making was all around and to be a part of the process. Then I’d know if I was meant for the industry or not.

Luckily for me, I managed to get an opportunity to do an internship in M&A with CG Results International, where I was seated next to people who wanted me to learn every day and be a part of the process as closely as possible.

Located right in the heart of the city, CG Results International advises businesses on M&A and fundraising across the global marketing, technology and healthcare sectors. I sent out my application (more like a cold email), expressing my interest in working with the firm but as they say, there’s no success without failure, and that’s exactly how my journey at CG Results started.

Contrary to most of the firms I had applied to, CG Results came back to my email inviting me to an assessment centre, and my first thought after meeting a couple of Analysts and Associates was that this was a great place to work and I must get the job. The entire day was well set-up and we were assigned various tasks, both as a group and as individuals, designed to test how we understood the M&A industry and various processes. I also had a quick interview with two of the Associates in the firm who made sure that by the end of the day, they knew me well enough to see if I was a good fit for the firm’s culture. Two days later, I was informed that I hadn’t made it through to the next round, but I was provided with very valuable feedback on my performance which I made it a point to work on.

Fast forward four months, I was almost done with my Masters, still applying for Internships and that’s when I thought it might be nice to have a quick chat with the Associate at CG Results who had interviewed me in April 2019. I reached out and luckily for me, there was yet another assessment centre for an Internship and this time I knew that I couldn’t afford to make mistakes. One assessment centre and two interviews later, I was offered the role of an M&A Intern for a period of three months starting October 2019.

My first few weeks at CG Results was about understanding the M&A industry in general, the big players in our sectors and what goes into closing a deal, and no it’s not just signing a big fat cheque just because you like a certain firm (at least that’s how I thought it worked). I started with formatting IMs, market research on prospective clients, analysing financial reports of companies, rationale behind PE investments and fundraisings, and understanding valuation metrics in deal evaluation and execution. I was asked to simultaneously work on a presentation on the robotic process automation (RPA) industry as a part of my internship. The idea was to see how well I could research and understand a particular sub-sector in the field of technology and analyse the M&A trends. I also spent a fair share of my time doing target scoping for buy-side clients and helped the team compile the CG Results International quarterly global technology market review.

Now, when you think about it, what did I really learn by formatting IMs or researching companies? Did I execute an M&A deal? I guess, not. But I don’t think that was the idea behind a three-month internship in M&A. The way I see things, the idea was to get the basics right. Do I think I’ve achieved that? Definitely. I now know more about the Technology and the Healthcare space than I ever did (and it’s not just about Facebook, Whatsapp or Instagram). I understand how cyber security, pharmaceutical and SaaS businesses work and what’s happening in the edtech and marcomms industry. I can do a thorough ratio analysis of a company, critically evaluate the deal comps and M&A doesn’t appear to be all written in French to me anymore. I have grown both professionally and personally, I see myself fitting well in the world of M&A and that to me was the whole point behind my internship in M&A.

These learnings and realisations wouldn’t have been possible if I wasn’t given a chance to ask questions or express myself, and folks at CG Results knew how to take care of that aspect. During the course of my Internship, I was given an opportunity to work with almost everyone on the floor, on different projects and I learnt new things, literally every day. It might be a keyboard shortcut in excel or mechanism in determining the final equity value in a transaction, everything eventually added up. Fridays were a bit more exciting than usual (maybe because of the after work drinks). Everyone looked forward to champagne celebrations upon deal completion and well, we all remember the amazing Christmas party last year.

Learning something new every day from the team members at CG Results has made me realise how much I still have to learn, and this has unlocked a thirst for more of what the M&A industry has to offer. The CG Results team wanted me to learn and have a good time, they supported me, and they all made sure that I got the most out of my experience – which for me was the best part of my internship.

Oh! I almost forgot to talk about the second-best thing at CG Results. They recognise your efforts and hard work and reward you accordingly. My Internship contract was eventually extended to six months, and now I’ve joined the team as an Analyst.