An interview with analyst Justin Cho

Born in South Korea and raised in northern California, Justin chose to venture out of his “California bubble” and landed in the midwest for college. He chose WashU in St. Louis due to their strong business program, knowing early on he wanted to work alongside entrepreneurs and their businesses.

After interning at a venture capital firm and speaking with several alumni, he chose to exclusively focus on investment banking because of the comprehensive skill-set he would gain. He began interviewing his senior year, mentioning that the interview process is similar with all banks – beginning with a 5-minute interview, progressing to a 30-minute technical interview and hopefully ending with an invitation to interview onsite.

Justin began working as an Analyst in the summer of 2017. We spoke with him about his experience at Livingstone thus far.

When & why did you choose Livingstone?
I’d already interned at a venture capital firm and realized I wanted a job that challenged me quantitatively and qualitatively. After speaking with a number of alumni who described how comprehensive a skill-set you can build in investment banking, I knew an investment bank would be a good place to begin my career.

Livingstone stood out to me during the full-time recruiting process for a number of reasons; I realized a leaner bank with a flatter hierarchy would allow me to take on as much responsibility as I could handle rather than being confined to a limited set of tasks at a larger bank. Furthermore, Livingstone’s generalist industry focus and variety of transaction types contribute to a well-rounded, comprehensive learning opportunity something you don’t get to do at larger firms.

What does a typical day entail for you?
That very much depends on how many deals I’m staffed on and what stages each of those deals are at. There is no “typical” day, but I try to catch up on news in the morning then delve into a variety of tasks, including constructing financial models, drafting CIMs and Management Presentations, and leading/participating in buyer diligence calls. The great aspect about a lean firm like Livingstone is that analysts have the opportunity to directly interact with the CEOs/CFOs of clients and buyers, whereas analysts at larger banks would rarely have the chance to do so, if at all.

What is the most enjoyable part about working at Livingstone?
The culture. Even during my interview on Super Day, I was struck by how down-to-earth the individuals interviewing me were. I chalked it up to a company founded on midwestern principles, a hardworking attitude with humble roots. There is a genuine team-oriented approach here. Whereas some banks may be cutthroat in analyst competition, Livingstone fosters a culture of collaboration, and all the analysts help each other out and get along.

This kind of culture is refreshing, especially in finance.

How has Livingstone impacted your career? Or, how do you hope Livingstone will impact your career?
My experience at Livingstone has improved both my quantitative and qualitative skillset. I’ve become a lot more efficient in building analyses in excel, more confident speaking about a deal to buyers, and creating content for marketing materials. Since coming on board in 2017 I have interacted directly with clients, led buyer calls and generally had more exposure with senior bankers internally than I would have at a larger bank.

What is your most memorable moment working at Livingstone?
Pretty sure other employees have mentioned this, but every year Livingstone hosts an international annual retreat at one of the 7 offices to bring together all of its employees. I’ve had the good fortune of attending two and each time has been a highly memorable experience. It’s great to get to know co-workers in an informal setting.

What is the most memorable deal(s) you’ve worked on?
A business services deal that I was actively involved in from beginning to close. I acquired exposure to all stages of the M&A process and witnessed both the rewarding and challenging aspects of getting a deal done.

What hobbies or activities do you enjoy outside of work?
I’m very passionate about sports and music. Whenever I have downtime, I actively follow a variety of professional sports and join a pickup basketball/volleyball game. I also used to create mashups and remixes of electronic dance music, so I occasionally pick that back up too.


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