Like previous co-ops, I heard a lot about the fantastic Chicago summers. Outdoor concerts, fireworks on Navy Pier, and evenings at the beach were just some of the summer activities I was told about. While I am sure the summers are phenomenal, unfortunately I arrived in the winter. My first day in Chicago the temperature was -12° F—more than 84° F colder than it was at home in San Diego, CA. Despite the cold winter, I still fell in love with Chicago.
Besides the weather, my experience at Credit Suisse HOLT could not have been better. There are three attributes to this co-op that I believe make it a uniquely beneficial experience for anyone interested in finance: 1) the diverse experiences you get working on a variety of different assignments across a variety of sectors, 2) The fantastic culture at HOLT and 3) the skillset you develop specifically in valuations.
1) While I was considered to be a “Sector Specialist” co-op, the term “specialist” is a bit of a misnomer. I didn’t specialize in any one sector, but spent time across a variety of sectors. The nature of my assignments was also very diverse. Some of my tasks included: making accounting adjustments for specific companies within the HOLT valuation model, creating pro forma financial statements for rumored mergers, analyzing executive compensation plans, and assisting in auditing a database that automatically accounts for M&A transaction between public companies
2) The second aspect of this co-op that made this experience so phenomenal was the culture at HOLT. Everyone here is very bright, incredibly down to earth, and took a genuine interest in giving the co-ops a good experience. The analyst I worked for would routinely ask me what projects I wanted the opportunity to work on. I would work with vice presidents, directors, and managing directors every single day, and they were just as approachable as the analysts were.
3) Lastly, the experience at HOLT gives you an opportunity to understand valuations at a deep level. At its core, the HOLT valuation methodology is a discounted cash flow analysis. Understanding valuations is clearly a very important skill set, as valuation is the backbone of every derivation of finance—whether that is equity research, investment banking, corporate finance, asset management, or trading.
Because many readers might be interested in how to secure a co-op with Credit Suisse HOLT, I thought it might be helpful to briefly explain my story. Following my sophomore year at Brigham Young University, I took two years off of school and work and did a non-paid mission for my church. I got back from my mission in April 2013, after taking two years off from finance, I did everything I could to break in. I found a list of financial institutions online and cold called over 100 different companies before I found a few nonpaid part-time externships at a variety of different financial institutions ranging from investment banking, to private equity, to financial planning. As part of my job search, I would also stop by financial institutions in San Diego. There aren’t many financial institutions in San Diego, but Credit Suisse does have a branch there, which is where I learned about the HOLT Valuation Challenge. After three rounds of the challenge and a series of interviews, Jim Ostry called me and offered me a Co-Op here with Credit Suisse HOLT which I immediately accepted. I couldn’t be more thankful the HOLT team for making this experience so remarkable. For any students that might be interested in speaking, please feel free to message me or find me on LinkedIn
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