What is it like to work at Eight Advisory?
Can you introduce yourself and tell us a bit about your background and interests?
My name is Vlad and I am a Masters of Finance student at the University of Amsterdam. Having graduated from a bachelor of business administration last year, this is now my fourth year in Amsterdam. I grew up around Cannes, in the South of France, my family and I moved from Russia when I was young.
When people ask me why I choose to study business and finance I remember my high-school business classes where we got to watch the early seasons of BBC’s “The Apprentice”. This was a period in my life when my passion for the business world first began to take shape. Later on, I choose to specialise in Economics and Social Sciences for my Baccalaureat diploma. Upon graduating high school, I decided to follow a bachelor in business at the University of Amsterdam.
Within the context of my studies here, I am ambitious and passionate, like speaking up in class, interacting with other students and making friends within the university. Outside of university, I am outgoing and like to hang out, play sports (football, kickboxing, padel, tennis), enjoy staying up to date with recent news and reading when time allows. I also enjoy the occasional night-off listening to music and watching TV. My dream is to retire on a sunny beach somewhere on the Mediterranean.
What motivates you about the field of finance and what made you choose to do an internship at Eight Advisory?
The field of finance offers a chance to work in an environment that is both fast-paced and constantly evolving. As someone who enjoys a sprinkle of uncertainty and is always up for a challenge, finance accomplishes both those objectives. It also gives you a chance to make a significant impact and develop strong analytical, problem-solving and communication skills. These are all items that I looked for when deciding where to do an internship.
Eight Advisory is a European financial advisory firm with French roots. It is widely recognized in France as a market leader in the areas of M&A Transaction Services (TS), but also has expertise in other business lines such as Corporate Restructurings, Valuations and Modelling and Strategy & Operations. Since their inauguration, they have expanded to a presence in six European countries with a total of 13 Eight Advisory brand offices and an even larger network of ‘partner offices’. The Eight Advisory network consists of more than 730 employees. Despite this size, the group has only recently expanded to the Netherlands, with its Amsterdam office that opened in 2021. Since then, it has been growing very quickly and is not slowing down anytime soon. Eight aims to be a direct competitor of the Big 4 for several of its business lines. When I was looking to supplement my master’s degree with an internship, I spoke to a friend who had amazing feedback about her time in the company’s Amsterdam office right after its opening. After some research, I saw a large appeal in the smaller size of the team, which meant I could get much more exposure to projects than I would get in a larger company. The financial focus as well as deal-oriented nature of the work at Eight Advisory also is extremely interesting due to a sense of impact in the work that you do on a daily basis, as it has a tangible impact on your clients. Indeed, apart from the amazing opportunity to learn in a small team, the scope of Eight’s work falls in line with my interests in the financial sector.
What is your role within the company and what are some of the main tasks and responsibilities you’ve had during your internship?
I am interning in the core department of the company, which is the Transaction Services and Corporate Restructuring team. The bulk of our work consists of conducting financial analysis, looking at performance indicators and performing due diligence of the project in question. A buy-side due diligence for a company that is considering an acquisition, a sell-side due diligence for a company that is considering a disposal/carve-out, or restructuring advice in the case of a distressed situation. As advisors, we provide guidance to clients during deal negotiations thanks to our in-depth financial analysis of the business and large partner network with a wealth of industry expertise.
So far, I have helped on two projects, one with an energy infrastructure client and another with a digital marketing agency. Since I have started my internship fairly recently, I have not yet experienced the project pipeline from start to finish. However, I have so far helped in making analyses, have helped with finalizing client reports, and have also worked in Excel to assist with data preparation.
With how many people in your team are you working on a project and how long does a project take on average?
As I mentioned, the team in Amsterdam is growing rapidly with already both Strategy & Operations and Valuations practices active. The amount of people per project varies depending on the difficulty of the assignment, but generally there is one partner, one manager, two seniors and one/two juniors for an average of 5/6 people. I am currently planned to work on a project with two people from Amsterdam and one from Brussels. The Benelux team works together quite often. Sometimes, we also work with overseas teams like the UK one, this is especially the case in projects where our client or target company has entities spread out over different countries. The length of a project depends on the project itself, some can be done in three weeks, and some can take several months.
How do you experience the work culture at Eight Advisory?
What distinguishes Eight Advisory from other firms is the openness of the team, the emphasis placed on collaboration and building connections throughout the entire organization. From day one I was assigned with a thesis supervisor who has been my point of contact for all of my questions and issues. Furthermore, the team in Amsterdam is extremely friendly, passionate and experienced. You can really feel the team spirit when working here due to the approachability of everyone in the office. The partners often walk by and talk to us about the recent developments on the client side, how their meetings went and in general give us some updates on the business. A lot of focus is put on approachability, you can really ask your questions and not be afraid to be criticized for not knowing something. Lastly, the connection you have with partners even as a junior is very high, which is a huge advantage for someone trying to learn about the ins and outs of the industry.
Have you had the opportunity to network in your field during your internship?
Another aspect that stands out at Eight Advisory is the attention that is given to activities outside the office. Just last week, the whole Amsterdam office travelled to Brussels for our Quarterly Benelux dinner. We spent two days working from the Brussels office and spent the night in the heart of Brussels. In a matter of 48 hours I met a lot of new people from the company, got to experience my colleagues in a less formal setting, and was very happy to have been part of this occasion. What’s more, this week we participated in the Young M&A Community Padel Tournament with other young professionals working in the industry. It was a great way to make closer connections with both my colleagues and the broader finance industry.
What are the learning and development activities at Eight Advisory?
At Eight, the exciting thing is that we get the opportunity to work on projects that span various sectors. So far every project I have come across has been vastly different from each other, which enables me to learn about a variety of topics and industries very quickly. In terms of formal learning opportunities, there are monthly learning sessions “Hungry for knowledge sessions” which are either presentations in real life or a Teams meeting about some specific subjects such as the income statement analysis, working capital, valuation, or data analytics. There is also internal documentation available to train you on the different topics. For each rank, there is a specified training plan so you can continuously develop your knowledge.
On the less formal activities, every year the whole company is invited to a three-day summer seminar where everything is taken care of by the company. Throughout those three-days there are both presentations given by employees and other industry professionals on development topics as well as activities like dinners, swimming, golfing among others. Coupled with the other things I mentioned, there are few companies out there that go out of their way to make it as worthwhile of an experience as I have seen at Eight Advisory.
Overall impression of your internship ?
If you couldn’t already tell, I’m delighted to be a part of this team. Although I have still some time to go in my internship, I am very happy to have chosen to do it at Eight Advisory and recommend other students with similar interests to apply for internships and full-time positions.