CAMBRIDGE, Mass.- Senior Isabelle Haugh of the Harvard softball team spent her summer in Houston interning as an investment banking analyst for Lazard. Read about her experience below.
This past summer, I worked as an investment banking analyst for Lazard. My internship kicked off in early June with a week of training in Lazard's New York City office. Each day began with an amazing view of NYC from the "Top of the Rock" as the offices are located on the top floors of 30 Rockefeller Plaza. After a week of accounting, excel, and financial modeling and valuation practice, I flew back to my hometown to start work in Lazard's Oil and Gas group in downtown Houston, Texas. From June through August, I worked on a variety of exciting deals where I learned a lot about Oil and Gas companies and their uniquely complex financial structures. One of the most stimulating parts of my job was that every problem my team encountered was something completely new and unfamiliar, so I was continually required to help find innovative solutions. With the Oil and Gas industry having so many facets between Upstream, Midstream, Downstream and Oil-Field Services and the unique structure of every Oil and Gas company, I was constantly learning and developing new interests.
Deals arise when a company seeks financial advisory from Lazard with the end goal being to find solutions that will positively impact the company's bottom line. Each deal is assigned to a team that is comprised of bankers at different seniority levels, and each member of the team carries distinct responsibilities to ensure a smooth and organized deal process.
In many ways, my experience this summer was very similar to my experience as a Harvard Softball player. Each player on the softball field plays a unique position that holds them accountable for a number of tasks. For example, a short stop is responsible for fielding ground balls within their range and making the out as well as communicating with other fielders to execute base coverages. A pitcher, on the other hand, holds a completely different set of responsibilities as their main job is to deliver pitches with specific spin to a certain spot within the strike zone. Just as softball players need to hold themselves and their teammates accountable for the responsibilities of their position, each banker on a deal team must also hold themselves and other members on their team responsible for each and every task assigned. As an analyst, my role on a deal team was to research the company's financial information, work with the associate on my team to develop financial models to value the company, and compile visually appealing presentation decks that offered potential transaction paths and valuation information. On the contrary, a managing director, the most senior deal team member, is responsible for communicating directly with the client and presenting the decks that the junior members of the team create.
In my experience this summer, work for certain deals became more or less urgent depending on what was happening in the world or what a company's competitors were doing. With so many uncontrollable variables, there were many instances where my deal team was having to work quickly under high pressure scenarios while also having to communicate with other members of the team as well as with the client. It was in these high pressure situations where skills that I have learned and developed as a member of the Harvard softball team were so helpful. Softball is an unpredictable game where the best players are able to react quickly in a composed manner to whatever challenge is thrown at them. The same poised adaptability, agility, and communicative skills also proved to be vital to my deal team's success this summer.
It was assuring to be able to draw on the skill set that I have developed through softball in my role as an analyst this summer. However, the environment that exists within my all-female team and coaching staff is different from the predominantly male environment that I worked in this summer. Given that banking is traditionally a male dominant profession and the Oil and Gas industry is even more so, I was in a unique position as one of just three females in the office. I enjoyed the challenge of learning how to work within this new team dynamic, and I was eager to help pave the way for other women interested in banking or Oil and Gas.
I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to work at Lazard this summer. Not only was I able to develop my technical skills and knowledge of how a company's financials can have such a huge impact on its growth, but I was also able to build great relationships and mature professionally. These are skills that I am excited to bring into my senior year at Harvard. I look forward to another great year with Harvard Softball, and I cannot wait to lead my team as Captain.