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Greenhill: choosing a career at a boutique bank

Not sure if a large financial institution would be right for him, Dean Rodrigues targeted a smaller firm
Investment banking
Where to work

Greenhill associate Dean Rodrigues was an economics and management student at Oxford when he first heard about the boutique bank where he now works, which focuses on giving clients financial and strategic advice, particularly M&A (mergers and acquisitions) advice.

Within moments of arriving at one of their campus events, Dean was convinced it was the perfect fit for him and his career aspirations.

"Greenhill's event targeted a small, focused group of students and managed to avoid the overwhelming crowds which gathered en masse at events held by other firms. I was really drawn in by the possibility of working here."

As our conversation continues, it becomes more and more apparent that Greenhill is different. Dean's description of working at there is more intimate than you'd expect from an investment bank employee, to the extent one strongly suspects he could name every single colleague in the London office without hesitating. In fact, he could probably tell you their birthdays too.

From intern to associate

Over the six-week internship he went on to do at Greenhill, Dean's exposure was equivalent to that of a first year analyst, from research-based tasks to financial analyses contributing to presentations for clients.

Dean worked alongside both junior and senior members of the Greenhill team on a range of projects, ensuring he left his internship having developed an extremely well-rounded skill set.

Impressed by his internship experience, there was no doubt in Dean's mind that Greenhill was the place for him, so he embarked on the application process for a graduate position.

"The assessment day comprised interviews with a mix of associates, vice presidents, and managing directors. Questions ranged from those seeking to understand my motivation to work in M&A to those focused on commercial awareness. I made it through and was offered a graduate role."

After a five-week training programme in New York, Dean and his fellow new joiners started work. While the time period to transition from student to employee was brief, Dean stresses it wasn't a case of being thrown in at the deep end.

"While serious work started straight away and you were expected to pull your weight, you weren't left to figure things out alone. Both senior and junior staff were always on hand to offer support and help you learn on the job."

"Greenhill's philosophy is very much one of wanting to help their employees develop into strong senior bankers, rather than seeing them as a resource and making them struggle unnecessarily."

Being green

When asked why students should consider a career at Greenhill over one at the bigger, flashier banks competing for their attention, Dean has plenty to say.

"Students should consider the importance of working somewhere where they'll be valued. We only take on a small number of graduates a year so each individual is highly regarded."

"Also, there's a real chance to impress and advance quickly through the firm. Everyone is hired because of their long-term potential, the fact they have the ability to be future managing directors."

Dean is also quick to highlight that Greenhill doesn't fit many of the banking stereotypes and urban legends students come across.

"You hear stories from some firms of graduate joiners being judged on how many hours they work so they sit at their desks until 2am not doing anything. But at Greenhill, any judgement is made not on the quantity of hours you work, but on the quality of work you do."