Day in the Life: Charlie Watford, investment bank graduate trainee

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7:30am:Alarm goes off and I hit the snooze button.

7:50am:Force myself out of bed, having hit the snooze button once too often, and am

showered, shaved and out the door in 10 minutes.

8:00am:Check my voicemails en route to the tube, mainly so I can respond to

anything urgent and start to plan the morning's work.

9:00am:London Underground permitting, I am at my desk in Docklands, coffee in hand,

and reading my emails. In the first half-hour of each day I generally check through work from the night before and contact the associates and vice presidents (VPs) with whom I am working on various projects.

Normally, an analyst in the mergers and acquisitions department will be

staffed on 2 or 3 active projects. Typically a project will have a VP, an

associate and an analyst working on it, and reporting to a managing director

or executive director (although often the team can consist of just an

analyst and one other).

Depending on the size of the project or level of activity, the team can

expand to bring in particular product groups and areas of expertise. The

small size of the team and high level of activity of projects means that for

an analyst you get a lot of hands on experience and have the opportunity to

learn from other people very quickly.

10:00am:Today, I have to prepare for a meeting with a VP on a possible merger of

two retailers.I look at several equity research reports on the companies

and familiarise myself with the sector, checking on Bloomberg for company

and sector news, and recent share price performances.

I spend a little time sketching out a mini-merger model in order to get an

idea of what impact this transaction will have on our client, their relative

contributions to the new company and whether it would be accretive to their

earnings or not.

11:00am:I sit down with the VP to discuss the model and a number of possible

scenarios to it. These will allow us to try various alternatives ranging

from selling non-core divisions to a full merger-of-equals.

The meeting with the client is two weeks away, so we plan to meet every day

for the next few days to review the progress of the model, before going to

the credit department and debt capital markets to get their insight on the

likely cost of financing.

11:30am:While away from my desk, I have received a couple of messages from an

associate I am working with on a telecom project. I call him back and jot

down some changes he wants made to the business plan.

He will be back in the office tomorrow morning, so wants to review

everything then, before we begin to talk about the various equity financing

alternatives. It looks like several hours work ahead, so I grab a sandwich

and eat lunch at my desk.

The business plan for the telecom company involves modelling various

scenarios forecasting the company's revenue growth, its income statement,

the effect on its balance sheet and cash flow.

For an acquisition, it enables the acquirer to see the effect of the deal on its finances and

ultimately to predict whether the acquisition will be beneficial to its

shareholders, as well as what price the company can afford to pay. A model

like this can range from 6 or 7 pages of Excel to over 60 pages.

2:30pm I make a couple of calls to a friend in the equity capital markets

division to find out about recent telecom activity, in preparation for

tomorrow's meeting and also talk to the equity research team on retailers.

The retail project is still in its early stages and as well as trying to

model the financial impact of the transaction, many of the next few days

will be spent analysing information on the companies strategic positions,

market sizes and the rationale for a transaction.

I check with our business information department on likely sources of data and ask for a book of all publicly available information.

4:00pm:I get a call on a technology project I worked on a couple of weeks ago. The

coverage officer (MD responsible for the client) wants me to join him for a

conference call with the client to help answer some follow-up questions on

the financing alternatives we presented.

The transaction is not imminent, but they want to look at some debt

financing and its impact on their credit ratios. At this stage my input to

the project is limited, but the officer is keen to keep me involved and it's

a good opportunity to learn more about debt financing.

A face-to-face meeting with the client is set up for the end of next week. The next few

days will involve working with a team from debt capital markets as they

prepare some initial indications of pricing.

8:00pm: After a couple more hours work on the retail project, I set about

gathering a few friends for dinner. Domino's Pizza is selected as tonight's

delight. A dozen friends gather in a conference room to devour a few

Pepperoni Passions and Texas BBQ's.

We swiftly move away from talking about work and on to plans for Friday night and the weekend. I decide to skip the gym and get back to my desk to tidy up a few loose ends.

10:00pm:Catch a cab home and am pleased to find two of my housemates still revising

for their accountancy exams. My other housemate (who works with me) is out

celebrating the conclusion of a deal. I decide against joining him, but

succeed in catching last orders with my exam-stressed friends.

11:30pm:Collapse into bed.

2:00am:I - and most of the street - hear my housemate return.