Few names in banking are synonymous with history and prestige like Rothschild. Should you visit their headquarters in London on St Swithin's Lane, you will be standing on the same street where the family first opened their London business two centuries ago. Rothschild bank continues to be controlled by the same family that founded it and takes great pride in its roots. Rothschild's hand is strengthened by the fact that they are an advisory only, independent investment bank, meaning they avoid the conflicts of interest which banks that trade, invest and advise sometimes encounter.
To learn more about what sets Rothschild apart from other investment banks, we spoke to Assia Belkahia, an analyst currently working in the Industrials, Infrastructure and Business Services sector team.
Standing out from the crowd
"I think it's a very good place to build a career and a network," Assia tells us. Banking may have a reputation as a fairly cut-throat industry, but at Rothschild employees are nurtured and encouraged to develop, with clear opportunities for advancement.
As for the work itself, Rothschild takes pride in the fact it consistently advises on more deals than any other financial advisor in its core markets including some of the largest M&A deals in the world.
Assia remembers one occasion in particular when her sector team were advising Severn Trent plc against an offer from a consortium, a potential deal which was front-page news for several weeks while she was working on it. "It was a very high-profile transaction. My role was to help make sure all the regulatory requirements were followed by the company. I was also involved in the valuation work, which was very interesting."
In the thick of it
Having done two internships at Rothschild, one in Paris and one in London, Assia is well-qualified to talk about the benefits of a Rothschild internship. As well as being an essential step between being a student and becoming a first year analyst, Assia's internship experiences also gave her plenty of hands-on experience.
"In most other banks, interns don't get extensively involved on live deals but here you do," she explains. Interns get to help the teams by working on marketing presentations and pitches for potential deals, as well as assisting on live transactions. "I also took part in writing investor materials such as information memoranda, and learnt basic discounted cash flow (DCF) modelling."
Junior analysts are also given high levels of responsibility almost immediately, says Assia. "People here trust you to step up quite early on, so juniors are often exposed to clients. From my first week, I was going to client meetings and was on every client call. Being put on live deals so quickly was great as it's very important to swiftly build a high level of transaction experience. What was also nice was that everyone in my team was always doing their best to teach me and to make sure I learnt something from what we were doing."
An exciting challenge
One by-product of the opportunity to work on live deals and attend client meetings is that graduate joiners need to be prepared to work hard, though Assia says the culture at Rothschild ensures employees are rewarded for the work they do rather than just the hours they spend at their desks. "There's no face time culture here, so you don't have to stay behind your computer just because everyone else is, which is how it can be elsewhere."
Having now been with Rothschild for just over two years, Assia continues to find her job challenging and engaging. "One day I came to the office and was told I needed to take the Eurostar in two and a half hours as I was going to be needed at a due diligence meeting with a potential buyer in Paris. There are often visits like that to somewhere in the UK or to Europe which can be quite exciting."
"On a more day-to-day basis, my work is very varied. I might be coordinating a data room, writing some investor materials or spending the whole day on due diligence calls. It's great because I really like the people I get to work with. If students like the idea of working in a fast-paced environment with very smart people on high-profile transactions, they should definitely apply to Rothschild."
Around the world in 40 countries
Having been born in Morocco, studied in France and worked in England, it seems fair to describe Assia as an analyst with a global perspective. In many ways, she is a perfect fit for Rothschild, which has offices in 40 countries across the globe. This global reputation played a key role in Assia's decision-making when it came to choosing where to apply: "Why Rothschild? Rothschild holds market leading positions in both the UK and France."
Students who've always been intrigued by the possibility of working abroad will be pleased to hear Rothschild employees enjoy movement across international borders. "At the moment I'm working with an associate who is on secondment from our New York office," says Assia. "He's here to work in London for eighteen months." Students fortunate enough to earn a place at Rothschild might want to consider investing in a suitcase!