What is it like to work at Eight Advisory?
Could you tell us something about yourself and your study background? Do you need a specific study background to work at Eight Advisory?
My name is Anne-Julie Becker, and I am 21 years old. I am French and German, but I have been living in Amsterdam since 2019. I completed my bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a specialization in Finance at the University of Amsterdam and plan to do my master’s in finance at UvA after my internship in September 2023.
I have been working as an Intern in Transaction Services and Restructuring at the company Eight Advisory since September 2022. Having done a bachelor’s in BA with several finance classes has helped me throughout the different tasks I was given and to quickly understand what was required from me. However, I did notice that there was still quite a gap between what you learn at the university and the ‘real world’. Therefore, even though some of my finance classes were helpful, the tasks I had to complete were new to me. Fortunately, since this is something all of my colleagues also ran into in the past, they were really helpful while I was getting started.
Why did you choose to work at Eight Advisory?
While working on my thesis, I was also looking to take a gap year to gain some more working experience before continuing my studies. Transaction services and restructuring appealed to me because it is a job that offers diversity in the projects and a lot of teamwork. While I knew that Eight Advisory was top one TS advisor in France, I found out that the group opened an office in Amsterdam (and on top of that, only 10min away from my place!). Having done an internship in Audit in KPMG, I was curious to see how working in a more deal-oriented environment would be like and I felt that I could benefit from the exposure 8A offers in numerous corporate finance topics.
I figured that it would be the perfect way for me to learn more about TS and restructuring. When I joined the group, which had 6 people at that time, I knew I would be able to get more exposure to the projects and create deeper professional relationships than by working at a bigger firm and would thus, be able to learn way more about the job and about work life.
What exactly does your current role as an Intern in Transaction Services and Financial restructuring at Eight Advisory entail?
Throughout my internship, I got to be part of both projects in TS as well as restructuring with different teams each time. In both cases, there is data crunching and analysis involved and a lot of teamwork. There is truly a social and communicative aspect to the job which I really like.
For the restructuring projects, we were tasked to build a 4-year business plan for an underperforming company, using historical data, latest budgets and market data. We had to create functioning financial statements that could be adjusted or changed based on inputs from other teams involved. For instance, we are going to analyze ways of increasing sales or decreasing costs.
For the TS projects, which are concerned with presenting a company that is either going to be bought (buy-side due diligence) or sold (sell-side due diligence), we look at the performance indicators of the company. I was given the responsibility to create some parts of the reports (such as the business overview or the P&L and Balance sheet section) that will be presented to the client at the end of the project. This part is super interesting because you get to see what the final product presented to the client is.
With how many people in your team are you working on a project and how long does a project take on average?
In Amsterdam, the team is growing rapidly, we have also recently launched our valuations as well as Strategy & Operations practice here in the Netherlands. Since I joined, we already doubled in size! I am currently working on a project with two people from Amsterdam. However, we work closely with the Brussels team, with whom we form, the ’Benelux’ team. 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. On each project there are generally 5 to 6 people. The length of a project depends on the project itself, some can be done in three weeks, and some take a couple of months.
What do you like about your job at Eight Advisory?
In the four months that I have been here, I have already worked on 3 different projects. Project diversity and the fact that the work is not repetitive is something I really like about my job; the projects covered multiple industries, various problems encountered, and more. I get to learn new things every day and I feel like I am improving my skills throughout the weeks. There is a different team for every project, so I always get different perspectives on how the work should be done which is a great way to learn when starting a career.
Secondly, I really like my work environment. My team is one of the things I like the most about my job; they are always available whenever I need help and include me in all parts of the projects. They organize fun events, such as a Christmas event, a cocktail party on a rooftop and more. As an Intern, I also got the opportunity to participate in a workshop of Eight Advisory at the Erasmus University of Rotterdam which was very interesting.
Working at Eight Advisory also gives you the possibility to do an ‘exchange’ period whereby you work at one of the other offices in France, the UK, Switzerland, Belgium or Germany for a longer period. This is something which I really look forward to, as I like to travel a lot in Europe.
Do you really notice the difference between working and studying?
Yes, I notice the difference every day. When I first arrived, I thought it would be difficult for me to apply what I learned throughout university at the workplace. However, my colleagues were there to help me with the transition, and now I can use the theories I learnt while working on projects, which is more interesting.
Another difference is the free time. Indeed, work stops when I arrive home. When I was studying, there was never a moment where I could totally relax without having my classes in mind. Here, while work can be busy at times, colleagues really respect your time off and I have never been required or expected to work in the weekends or very late into the evening.
What is the corporate culture like at Eight Advisory? Do you notice a strong hierarchy?
There is no such thing as the intern having to get the coffee for everyone! . Usually they even get coffee for me! To me it really feels as if there is no hierarchy here, I think it is helped by the fact that we are still a small team, but even the senior colleagues make sure that the door is always open for feedback or just small talk.
From the beginning, I felt totally included. My whole team organized an event just to welcome me which really showed the more family-like atmosphere at the Amsterdam office.
What are the learning and development activities at Eight Advisory?
As from junior position, everyone is invited to a yearly summer seminar in great venues where everything is taken care of by the company. This summer, the seminar was in Spain, Alicante and the company organizes activities and parties for the team to create deeper relationships. Every year, there is also a training seminar of three days at another great location (last year it was in a castle in France) where there are fun events like dinners, golfing, and then also some personal development activities.
Moreover, there are some monthly learning sessions over lunch (“Hungry for knowledge sessions”), which are either presentations in real life or on a Teams meeting about some specific subjects such as the income statement analysis, working capital, valuation, and 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.
You also have the possibility to write a thesis on a specific subject that relates to the company and then you get access to internal resources such as Bloomberg and Thomson One.
Moreover, you can become part of different teams such as the Gender diversity team, the onboarding team (which organizes knowledge sessions, events for new arrivals and more), or the fun committee which organizes some nice events for the team. For instance, they organized paddle tournament, ski trip, a trail race, a Lebanese night and more.
Where do you see yourself in a few years’ time? What does your future look like at Eight Advisory?
After I finish my master’s degree, I am planning to join Eight Advisory Amsterdam as an analyst in TS & Restructuring team. I feel like there are still so many things I can learn here, and I think that I would be able to have a good impact on the team.