ON THE SPOT: Alexander Leigh, M&A graduate at Rothschild

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Alex completed a degree in biology at Imperial College and decided to pursue a career in investment banking at Rothschild.

He joined the media team in Rothschild's M&A division in December 2007, after six weeks of classroom-based training and networking with graduates from Rothschild's global offices, and a subsequent three-month rotation through several M&A teams. Here, Alex answers our questions about life as an M&A professional. And if you ask him nicely, he'll answer some of yours below.

What have you been working on today?

An unusual deal: we're examining the possibility of establishing a new business rather than valuing an existing one. I'm producing a model for this, which involves examining the market for the product and formulating a concept of what the consumer would be willing to pay. Once the model's complete I'll use it to stress test the business plan against various downside scenarios. Once finished I will present the idea to the client with one of the team's managing directors and help "sell" our idea.

So what kinds of things do you do normally?

Firstly, running the process for deals, helping coordinate the accountants and lawyers who are involved in producing the documentation and due diligence to complete a deal.

Creating pitchbooks is a another large element of the job, along with developing models for various projects and concepts. There are two types of modelling. First, for public companies, where their financials are readily available and public and brokers have looked at what might happen to their numbers in future. Then there are private companies, where you examine the general market drivers and use them to create your own financial model for the firm.

What are the hours like?

Most days I'm finished by 9pm or 10pm. When we've got a live deal there are often a few long weeks in order to meet strict deal timetables.

So what's the latest you've ever stayed at the office?

5.30am.

There must be some perks though...

Travel opportunities are growing at the moment as we deal with a lot more traditional media and we look towards emerging markets. Graduates in the team have been out to places like Latvia and other central and eastern European countries.

What do you like best about this job?

When you come to taking live a long-term project and you see something tangible come from a lot of work.

For example, recently, when a relatively large merger went public - market research firms GfK (client) and TNS - actually reading that announcement and all the press surrounding the deal was very satisfying.

Alex is available to answer questions posted below between 21 and 23 July inclusive (only questions which are answered will be made live).

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