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Overview

Introduction

Greenhill is a leading M&A advisory firm that cares about giving its interns a strong learning experience. Interns work on live deals alongside clients and senior bankers. Full-time junior bankers work on lean deal teams, getting extraordinary responsibility and close interaction with senior bankers. At Greenhill, the people are polite, kind, helpful, and supportive.

Company Stats


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Employer Type


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Size


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Featured Rankings

Vault Banking 25...


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Major Office Locations

Chicago, IL...


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Employment Contact

Christina Celestino...

Firsthand Findings

Greenhill is looking for candidates with strong interpersonal, analytical, quantitative, writing, organizational, and time management skills. Also desired are an excellent academic history, a track record of achievement, demonstrated leadership qualities, and a strong work ethic. For students, Greenhill runs an excellent internship program, offering interns a chance to work on live deals alongside clients and kind, helpful, supportive senior bankers—Greenhill really cares about giving its interns a strong learning experience. There are also many company-wide social and professional events that interns can attend.

For full-time junior bankers, lean deal teams mean extraordinary responsibility and extremely close interaction with senior bankers. Meanwhile, promotio...

About the Company

Greenhill calls itself “a unique investment banking firm,” and to be sure, it follows a model quite unlike the structure of its behemoth competitors. At Greenhill, independence is the guiding philosophy; because it’s not part of a larger financial institution, the firm avoids the conflicts of interest inherent in those firms. Greenhill’s second rule is focus. It has no research, trading, or lending divisions to distract from its advisory work, which includes mergers, acquisitions, restructurings, financings, capital raisings, and secondary fund investment sales. 

The firm is a relatively young one by Wall Street standards: about 24 years old. In 1996, Robert F. Greenhill, former head of Smith Barney and former president of Morgan Stanley, struck out on his own and founded an eponymous boutique firm. He led ...

Employee Reviews


  • “Greenhill has very good culture. People are always polite and respectful of each other. I feel valued and respected in my role, and my supervisors are always willing to help and mentor me. I also get real responsibilities and get to interact with clients a good amount. The hours can be a lot, and it’s hard to maintain a healthy work/life balance. We also don't have protected Saturdays or Friday evenings. People are generally trying to be more respectful with your time those days, but it's not an official firm policy. You always need to stay alert and keep an eye out for emails. I also heard that it's hard to take vacation days, though I haven't tried to do that yet and so don’t have personal experience with the issue.”
  • “Dominant culture of friendliness (which makes a big difference at 2 a.m.). This is considered extremely important in recruiting at all levels. I can think of one example of an MD who raised his voice a couple of times when he first joined, and he was quickly informed by leadership of our cultural expectations and has since become very friendly (friendliness is contagious!). Even before COVID, we had flexibility to choose your work hours and work remotely (no face time). Our group head said we could ‘work from the moon’ if we needed to. A lot of concerted senior attention on quality of life, and responsiveness to junior team needs. Long hours, but then that's elite investment banking. Also, dislike of confrontation can lead to overly indirect communication at times.”
  • “Greenhill recognizes that investment banking is an intense industry for bankers at all levels and therefore tries to do as much as possible to mitigate the challenges that banking presents. While we work a lot of hours in high pressure situations for our clients, the firm also understands that all bankers have lives outside of work that should be celebrated and cultivated. Therefore, there’s a zero facetime culture and a strong cultural reaction against busy work or unnecessary staffing. The firm knows it can only get the best out of our employees if they’re rested and relaxed, and therefore there’s no stigma in taking time off to recharge as long as you can be counted upon to commit when the client needs it.”
  • “Culture is great. No face-time requirement, and the firm does a good job inculcating a collegial atmosphere where collaboration is the norm, not the exception. There’s no culture of back-stabbing or internal competition. It’s a very positive place to work. One less-great aspect is the firm does not have an official protected weekend policy, although this is less relevant because when you’re having a light day/week, no one cares if you’re at your desk till midnight every night.”
  • “Overall compensation figures are good, but deferred portion of compensation seems higher than many of our peers. Overall, this is not too big an issue. Being remote, not sure that we have other perks. Benefits and other seem in-line with competitors. Con: In most cases, juniors are working equal to more hours while remote.”
  • “We have extensive medical coverage, life insurance, disability insurance, and 401(k) plans. We also get free meals and transportation if we stay at the office past 8 p.m. When work from home started, the company provided all the necessary equipment (monitors, docking stations, etc.) Our medical coverage requires a high contribution by the employee (I know that the contribution amount is lower in some other banks).”
  • “Greenhill’s compensation structure is always competitive with Wall Street peers but has the drawback of including a meaningful component of stock compensation, which has been worth less than peers in recent years, given the stock performance.”
  • “Generally satisfied with compensation package, especially considering Covid impact to the industry as a whole. My biggest issue here is the lack of any 401(k) matching.”
  • “Lean structure means unparalleled ability to take on responsibilities both within deal teams (developing recommendations and presenting to the C-suite of publicly-traded companies) and with regards to broader firm strategy/operations (such as working directly with the CFO of Greenhill). Complex and thorough analyses, with attention to creativity, subtlety, and precision, which provides the ability to gain differentiated experience with esoteric and bespoke financial transactions as well as detailed diligence. Open-door policy and supportive senior team. However, little to no accelerated promotion opportunities for top performers. There’s a collaborative, friendly environment, but also challenges for retention and development of best junior assets. Not enough structured feedback.”
  • “Promotions are generally encouraged and supported. Analysts who decide to stay with the firm for more than two years generally get promoted to associate on their third or fourth year. Greenhill is also very open and supportive of analysts leaving the company to go into private equity, corporate development, or some other field. They understand that this is a common trend in banking and want to help us achieve our professional goals. They often host PE recruiting Q&A sessions, as well as interview preparation sessions. Greenhill also has offices in many different locations, including Europe, Asia, South America, etc. Mobility between offices is possible, although not extremely common.”
  • “Greenhill doesn’t have many formal training programs for career development but the informal ability to seek mentorship from any number of senior bankers is unparalleled. Many senior bankers take an active role in ensuring that junior bankers are learning the appropriate skills to grow into future stars.”
  • “There is no better environment for young bankers to learn. In an industry that is fundamentally an apprenticeship model, tremendously lean deal teams means extremely close interaction and exposure for all levels. Lots of responsibility (for better or worse) placed on the shoulders of junior bankers. The firm is a boutique focused on strategic advisory and restructuring advisory, there are not any other areas to explore if a young banker wants to choose a different path.”
  • “The firm needs more senior female bankers. Other than that, I think the firm is doing its best to recruit and retain a diverse group of individuals, and seems to be doing a good job, particularly at the junior banker level.”
  • “Diversity could be better.”
  • “The company is very PR-shy. We never make any announcements or have any initiatives to spend time (during work hours) on any philanthropic initiatives. I believe we should do more to give back to our local communities and be committed to global initiatives.”
  • “I don't know if they do any of these things. Internal communication on these topics needs vast improvement.”
  • “Firm outlook is strong, because we have a smart bunch of people at the firm and provide genuinely good and independent advice to our clients. We also have some great MDs. But employee morale is low because of firings with no transparency or talk of it, and very minimal perks. The best talent will leave if management doesn’t get its act together and start fixing those issues and promoting early.”
  • “I respected firm management prior to Covid, but since the pandemic, management's lack of response and apparent concern for its employees has triggered low morale across the board. Greenhill is the only bank that I have heard held an in-person summer analyst program in spite of the pandemic and opened its office in June, long before any other banks felt comfortable doing so, for the sake of increasing productivity.”
  • “Seniors have found a way to transact in this environment, which has been great. Junior morale could be higher.”
  • “Very inspired leadership. Very savvy move to go heavy on restructuring prior to Covid.”
  • “Since Greenhill is a relatively small firm, I always had a lot of exposure to clients and senior people. The team got me very involved in all the projects and I had real responsibilities. People at Greenhill were always very kind, helpful, and supportive. They really cared about me having a good experience and learning as much as I could. We also had a lot of company-wide social and professional events that enabled me to meet everyone at the firm and to interact with my colleagues in a less formal setting. I would say that the most challenging aspects were the long hours and the inability to make plans, but that’s not specific to Greenhill, just the nature of the job.”
  • “I liked that the internship was a good representation of what the full-time role is like. It was great to not have to do a summer project but instead work on actual live deals. Hardest part of the internship was the ambiguity around performance—it was hard to know whether or not you were doing a good job.”
  • “The internship closely mirrored the full-time associate role. I was often staffed on projects as the only associate, and had the opportunity to work directly for senior bankers on live and marketing projects with an incredible amount of responsibility. I really enjoyed my internship. Something that maybe could have been better was a more formalized mentorship program during the summer. We were assigned an associate and VP mentor, and there wasn’t much formal interaction between us interns and our official mentors.”
  • “Overall, Greenhill provided a great internship experience. In addition to the responsibility/exposure you’re given on live projects and marketing materials from day one, the internship also includes a ‘final project’ that simulates the pitching process for a hypothetical M&A transaction. This allows all interns, regardless of the ‘real’ experience they had over the summer, to perform and learn all aspects of a typical pitch book, including financial analysis, market research, strategic rationale, etc. The project culminates with a 20-minute presentation to senior bankers, which reflects on Greenhill's flat corporate structure/accessibility to MDs and prepares returning summer analysts for the responsibility, analysis, and communication expected from your first day on the desk as a full-time analyst. Bankers of all levels are also incredibly willing and able to help with and answer any questions you have—even as an intern. That was incredibly valuable for my development and has since continued after I joined as a full-time analyst. Greenhill also has several group events during the summer internship, which allows interns to bond with those at their level and get to know full-time employees outside of the office, giving interns a good sense of Greenhill's culture in the process. The only negative aspect that comes to mind is the hours, but anyone interested in investment banking should know that’s not a Greenhill-specific problem and comes with the territory.”

Wellness Efforts

  • “We have a gym at our office location. Before the pandemic started and when we were still going to the office, they used to offer free weekly physical therapy and massages for all employees.”
  • “Massages in New York.”
  • “Wellness efforts limited to modest contributions against gym memberships.”
  • “Our building previously had a gym, which we were encouraged to use. Our new facility should have other wellness areas.”

 

Response to Anti-Racist Protests and BLM Movement

  • “CEO sent a firmwide email expressing support for the peaceful protests and reform in the wake of George Floyd's death.”
  • “Company stance has been that we do not comment, which has been very disappointing. Other thoughts: GHL needs to do a better job supporting minority and female employees. There are very few minority (front-office) employees, and this needs attention. The firm does well with female hiring at the junior level, but senior levels (in the U.S. offices, at least) lack race and gender diversity.”
  • “Extremely disappointing and no statement was made till management was told to. Even when they did, the remarks seemed insincere.”
  • “No response that I’m aware of.”

Response to Covid-19

  • “I think that Greenhill handled the pandemic extremely effectively. We were one of the first firms to reopen the office this summer, but Greenhill never forced its employees to come in. We always had the option to work from home or come into the office, and could do what was most convenient for us depending on the day. I feel that this is the best approach that any corporation can take in response to current circumstances, since it accommodates all preferences. Greenhill also made sure to meet all the safety requirements through mechanisms such as daily employee surveys, masks in the office, etc.”
  • “Poor transparency. All first year analysts in the New York office were strongly urged to move to New York despite the office being totally empty. Then the office closed entirely due to construction delays for our new office. There was no communication about any of this until the very last minute, forcing many people to stay in the city and renew leases, etc. Huge contributor to low morale.”
  • “Greenhill has left employees on their own to set up and has done a very poor job communicating expectations regarding timeline of work from home. The company has also not been proactive whatsoever about providing resources or support to employees during this time.”
  • “Management has taken a very relaxed approach. Rather than focusing on making sure everyone is comfortable and happy with their work-from-home situation, there’s been obvious messaging that we should be rushing to get back into the office, which is not a sentiment that resonates across majority of the workforce. I wish there was more concern vs. what seems to be a downplay of the overall situation.”

Getting Hired Here


  • “The interview process seemed fairly typical, albeit the technical questions were a bit more challenging than the other firms I interviewed at. Because the firm is small, it’s seeking very technically strong candidates who are also culture fits for the firm. You need to be able to hit the ground running as soon as you join, so they do quite a bit to screen candidates to make sure they’re up to the job.”
  • “Greenhill's interview process is extremely technical from initial phone screen all the way through the Superday. That said, it’s very important to first network with analysts/associates as, for the most part, alumni of the firm’s target schools decide which resumes are passed on to the interview process. If someone recognizes your name from a prior coffee chat/phone call, you’re much more likely to make it to the interview stage. Also, given how small Greenhill's analyst class is, cultural fit is an extremely important component of the hiring decision, and it’s easiest to demonstrate that fit through informal networking sessions with junior level employees—it certainly doesn’t come across through a resume. Greenhill also looks for familiarity with the firm’s business/culture, including recent deals from our website, networking with several employees, etc., so it’s important to do your research ahead of time. Ultimately, Greenhill is looking for analyst and associate candidates who have demonstrated firm and deep technical understanding, eagerness to learn and work hard, ability to work independently, think freely, and are a cultural fit.”
  • “Ideal candidate has strong interpersonal and analytical skills; outstanding financial, quantitative, writing, organizational, and time management skills; a track record of achievement; demonstrated leadership qualities; a strong work ethic; and an excellent academic history.”
  • “Looking for someone who is a self-starter and can run with things without being explicitly told what to do. You have to be a fast learner, since in this generalist model you must become an expert on different industries/sectors quickly. People here are generally willing to help and give feedback, but you have to be comfortable with the ambiguity, as everyone is busy and won’t always have time to give you pointers and hand hold.”
  • “All the traditional questions you’d find in a Wall Street prep guide: Walk me from revenue to unlevered free cash flow? What one financial statement would you look at to evaluate an investment opportunity? What are the critical drivers of accretion/dilution in a merger model? What levers can financial sponsors use to increase their IRR? Why do companies execute M&A in the first place?”
  • “Very difficult technical questions that aren’t found in the typical BIWS question guide. Complex accretion and dilution questions, word problems to tease out concepts like discount rates, and difficult multi-step accounting questions involving funding PP&E spend with PIK and cash interest debt coupled with depreciation.”
  • “Probably not unique in set up but potentially dive deeper than interviews at other firms. Typical questions involve in depth case study on potential transaction, covering rationale, valuation, potential pitfalls etc.”
  • “Why Greenhill? Why investment banking? Tell me about yourself. What is something you’ve learned about banking by going through this recruitment process? LBO questions, valuation questions, accounting questions.”

Perks & Benefits