Harris Williams & Co. Reviews

Updated July 24, 2015
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Harris Williams & Co. Executive Managing Director Ned Valentine
Ned Valentine
7 Ratings

19 Employee Reviews

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  1. Analyst

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Harris Williams & Co.

    Pros

    People and great deal flow

    Cons

    Boston office MDs are terrible


  2. Great company to work with

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Harris Williams & Co.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    Pros

    Awesome culture. Great people to work with.

    Cons

    Increasing diversity will improve productivity


  3. Analyst in Boston Office

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Analyst in Boston, MA
    Former Employee - Analyst in Boston, MA

    I worked at Harris Williams & Co. full-time

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    You do learn a lot...unfortunately a lot of what you learn is how to deal with bad personalities, bad management, long hours, etc. In fairness, you get decent exit ops here. And you see deals from start to finish. I still keep in touch with some of the CEOs we worked with. And you definitely build a bond with the other analysts/associates as you are all in prison together.

    Cons

    The people who run this office are just terrible, and have hired some really bad associates/VPs in the past with no respect for analysts time nor brain power. I've heard that people in other offices don't mind the long hours because it's a decent culture, but everyone who's working in the Boston office at the lowest levels would agree - it was the worst job they ever had.

    Advice to Management

    If someone gets berated time and again by junior people, fire them. Boston probably needs a management change, even though many of the bad apples I worked with are gone by now.


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  5. Analyst

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Virginia in Richmond, VA
    Current Employee - Virginia in Richmond, VA

    I have been working at Harris Williams & Co. full-time (More than a year)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    Pros

    If you want sell-side M&A experience, there is no better firm. In two years, analysts will get a tremendous amount of deal experience and close ~4 deals on average, which is unheard of at other banks. There is great exposure to the M&A process and plenty of opportunities for client interaction given the significant responsibilities of the analyst. On top of that, the culture is phenomenal. There is a ton of work to do, but the senior guys are family oriented and genuinely great people so as long as the work gets done, there is no "facetime," aspect, pressure to be in on weekends, etc. Richmond is not always viewed as an ideal city for young adults, but working with ~30 other analysts your age is awesome and there is a huge focus on culture fit when hiring, so everyone becomes very good friends by the end. Mandatory one week vacation totally "unplugged."

    Cons

    Given the focus on sell-side M&A, analysts do not necessarily get the breadth of financial modeling experience compared to bulge brackets. This, along with the lack of a New York office, can be a disadvantage when it comes to recruiting at the larger PE funds, but this can be overcome as we work with those same funds more than anyone so there are plenty of opportunities to network with clients and buyers. Hours are certainly long but that is expected.


  6. Analyst

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Harris Williams & Co.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Fantastic deal experience in a fast-paced environment. Analysts are given the opportunity to step up and participate to a greater degree than larger M&A shops (e.g., travel to pitches, travel to management presentations, interact directly senior management at the client organization). Senior professionals go out of their way to help Analysts get placed in desirable post-banking positions (PE is the most common). As a result, HW has a great track record of placing Analysts at top tier middle market PE funds. Compensation has been above-street for the last few years with no COLA adjustments for geography. Depending on where you live, the compensation can be very attractive.

    Cons

    Analyst hours/workload are beyond painful. This is exacerbated by the fact that staffing is not centralized/formalized in some offices and that the better Analysts end up being pulled onto too many deals and stretched beyond capacity while the lower-performing Analysts are left with little to do. The revolving door of employees at the post-MBA Associate level makes the situation even more painful.

    Advice to Management

    Work a bit harder on retaining Analysts who demonstrate interest in going on to become Associates. The most frustrating part of my experience at HW was trying to "train-up" the majority of Associates I worked with because they had no idea what they're doing. By building up a base of institutional knowledge at the Analyst and Associate level (by not scaring away Analysts who would otherwise go on to be 3rd years and Associates), I think things would go a lot more smoothly.


  7. Helpful (1)

    Analyst

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Analyst in Richmond, VA
    Former Employee - Analyst in Richmond, VA

    I worked at Harris Williams & Co. full-time (More than a year)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    Pros

    Great learning environment; significant interaction with senior professionals and clients; easy to use analyst program as a stepping stone to private equity associate roles.

    Cons

    Just because HW&Co. isn't a bulge bracket IB, the hours are every bit as long. Many of the green associates coming out of business school should defer to the experienced analysts.


  8. Analyst

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Analyst
    Current Employee - Analyst

    I have been working at Harris Williams & Co. full-time (More than a year)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    - Laid back culture compared to other investment banks - Great associates to work with (this is my experience with the 2 associates I have worked most closely with) - Solid sell-side M&A experience - Senior professionals who go out of their way to help analysts break into PE / HF / other exit opportunities - Great placement opportunities

    Cons

    - Long hours - Arbitrary deadlines - Unrealistic expectations at the VP level (this is not a broad for all VPs just my experience with 1-2 VPs) - Junior team viewed as resources vs. people - Poor staffing and uneven distribution of workload across the analyst pool

    Advice to Management

    - listen to the junior team and pay more attention to work load - better incorporate feedback


  9. Helpful (1)

    Analyst

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Analyst in Richmond, VA
    Former Employee - Analyst in Richmond, VA

    I worked at Harris Williams & Co. full-time (More than a year)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Despite not being well known outside the financial world, Harris Williams is easily one of the most highly regarded middle market banks out there and is very well known in PE circles. The analyst program is a very rigorous program that gave me a very fast-paced learning experience. Analysts at Harris Williams work on live deals, almost exclusively, and close many of them at that. The best part about the Company are the people, it's easily the best work culture I've been part of (including my current job at a middle market private equity firm). Compensation my second year was well above street / market.

    Cons

    Like any investment bank, work life balance is a big challenge. HW analysts work as much if not more than their New York counterparts. While analysts get a lot of deal process experience and a considerable amount of client exposure and responsibility, the experience is likely less well-rounded than a bulge bracket experience given the singular product focus on sell-side M&A. And while there are technical elements to the HW experience, students get less of a full technical foundation from a deal modeling perspective given the singular focus on sell-side M&A (as opposed to a whole host of other strategic alternatives).


  10. Helpful (1)

    Great exposure and lots of resposibility at an entry level position

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Analyst
    Current Employee - Analyst

    I have been working at Harris Williams & Co. full-time (More than a year)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Great exposure to the entire deal process with lots of responsibility at the analyst level from the start. Opportunity to gain the trust of senior-level professionals and clients as you gain more experience. Laid back culture that is collaborative and team-oriented. Commitment to client satisfaction is honest; professionals are family-oriented and there is a high level of integrity across the firm. Third years are highly encouraged, but recruiting for private equity is also supported by senior-level professionals.

    Cons

    Agree with another review that exposure and responsibilities on the marketing process limits modeling and technical experience. Not much diversity. Outer offices are a bit isolated.


  11. Strong Middle-Market Analyst Program

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Analyst in Richmond, VA
    Current Employee - Analyst in Richmond, VA

    I have been working at Harris Williams & Co. full-time (More than a year)

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    HW&Co. has one of the stronger analyst programs in the middle market. The firm has diversified somewhat but it is still heavily (90%+) focused on sell-side M&A for private-held companies, with the majority of those deals involving either a private equity buyer, a private equity seller, or both. As a result of this concentration, HW&Co. is a great place to be an analyst if (a) you have an interest in middle-market private equity or (b) you're looking for an IBD experience outside of the bulge bracket / NYC. The majority of HW&Co. analysts move to private equity roles after completing their 2 or 3 years at the firm (others stay on as associates or pursue different-analyst careers). Analysts are given the opportunity to take on more responsibility and typically get good exposure to client management teams. Compensation is competitive with NYC / Wall Street firms, even in markets with far lower cost of living. Richmond analysts in forever make considerably more money than most New York analysts on a cost-adjusted basis.

    Cons

    HW&Co.'s focus on sell-side M&A means that analysts do not necessarily gain the breadth of financial experience that a bulge bracket or public-company-focused job would provide. This isn't unfixable but it's in many ways more of a business job than a finance job; technical skills typically only get developed and utilized at the pitch stage. Hours are long and unpredictable, as with any M&A-focused IBD job. Certain megafunds still don't recruit at HW&Co. and are unlikely to start (TPG, KKR, Carlyle, Berkshire, etc.) but that is as much a function of the typical HW&Co. resume (not a 3.8+ from the Ivy League) as it is a function of actual access.



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