As I am enrolled in the Master in Management (MiM) programme, you might wonder why it is me who is writing an article about M&A. While it is true that the MiM focuses on management topics with only an introductory module in finance, we are able to choose electives in our final year to complement the management-oriented curriculum. This provides us with the possibility to dive deeper into related or trending topics to obtain additional skills, which are useful for your future career. For me, this was the opportunity to get a first insight into M&A as this is a topic I didn’t focus on during my previous internships and studies.
The module was organised by EY Parthenon. They sent nine professionals from different departments of the company to give an extensive overview of the entire M&A journey from different perspectives. On our first day, we started with a session on M&A Strategy, which highlighted the role of M&A as a strategic tool for companies to grow inorganically. After this, we continued with an insight into Distressed M&A. We then moved on to cover the M&A process from different perspectives, namely the Sell & Separate as well as the Buy & Integrate side. We learned about the different divestiture and acquirer types and how important a compelling equity story is from a seller’s perspective. On the acquirer side, we studied major during post-merger integration. We ended the module with a lecture on Value Creation, which emphasised the need to identify synergies to realise cost savings due to operational efficiencies or to increase revenue due to more productive use of assets.
Overall, we gained interesting insights into the work of M&A professionals during case study discussions and several real-life examples. The most prominent example we looked at was the merger of Daimler and Chrysler. It is a very popular example of a failed transaction as the importance of corporate culture was underestimated, which ultimately led to a reversal of the merger. Although I did not have deep knowledge about M&A beforehand, I was able to draw connecting lines to various aspects of my study programme and feel confident to apply it in the future.
Besides the academic part of the course, I was also able to get to know EY Parthenon, EY’s strategy consulting arm, as a potential employer during the dinner event. This was of particular interest to me as I am in my final year and starting to plan my post-university career.
Finally, the electives are not only an opportunity to broaden our horizons by extending the scope of our study programme, but also offer the chance to connect with students from other study programs and lecturers.