An interview with Joe Ens, Analyst

How did you get your start at Livingstone?

When I interned at Auxo Investment Partners, a private equity firm in Grand Rapids, Michigan, I learned about Livingstone because Karl Freimuth had just completed a transaction with the firm. I liked what I saw and reached out to Ryan Buckley. He was awesome to connect with and really easy to talk to; after speaking with him, I felt an immediate tie to Livingstone and sent in my resume to apply for an analyst position.

I made it through the interview process and got to Super Day. At the Super Day, I was shocked by how personable everyone was; none of the interviews ever felt like interviews but more like conversations. We ended the day with pizza and beer, it was the least “interviewy” interview process I’d experienced, and when I got the offer, I accepted because I knew this was where I wanted to be.

How has Livingstone impacted your career? What challenges have you met?

I always planned to go into investment banking; I wanted to do it since I was a Freshman at college. I suspected John Carroll wouldn’t stick out on my resume compared to other schools known for business, so it felt like Livingstone took a chance on me when they hired me.

I got to do exactly what I wanted to do for a career right out of school, and that’s thanks to Livingstone. In my opinion, there aren’t many places better to begin your IB career than Livingstone.

Analysts are added to deal teams right off the bat. We don’t have a rigid, formal training process; instead, you learn on the job and are baptized by fire. I was added to the Rumchata deal team on Day One and got to work with Eric Suh and Andy Bozzelli – an experience I consider more valuable than any super structured training I could have gotten. In the first week, I got real-life deal experience, which was more than my friends got at their larger banks.

What expectations has Livingstone lived up to? What is the most enjoyable part about working at Livingstone?

From the start, Livingstone made it clear this is an eat what you kill model – in other words, you’re rewarded based on how good you are at your job. You’re not just a mindless drone; you’re treated as an individual. If you put the work in, you are rewarded with opportunity.

I was told there is a strong culture here, and that’s proven true. I came in with a solid group of analysts and was immediately welcomed by the bullpen. I probably hang out with my work colleagues as much as my non-work friends – and I’m talking outside of work. It’s a regular occurrence; we’re not faking it.

The people really are the best part. From the beginning, the workweek never felt like a workweek because we always had fun events on the calendar to look forward to with people you actually like to spend time with.

The people really are the best part. From the beginning, the workweek never felt like a workweek because we always had fun events on the calendar to look forward to with people you actually like to spend time with. None of my peers have that. Most other firms don’t put on events like Livingstone does or at the rate that Livingstone does – and the analysts all appreciate it so much.

What does a typical day entail?

A typical day: I like to work out to set the tone for the day. I come in at 9, catch up on emails, and that’s the most structure I get. After that, it’s a plethora of things. I could be on the phone with a client or handling buyer calls. I have a level of autonomy that I appreciate. Being able to call the CFO of a massive company that my friends recognize and work with them individually to tailor the message for them is special. How many kids are 24 years old and running calls with CFOs and C-level execs with major companies?

Every day is vastly different. You’ll have calls and meetings and work on the same materials for each deal, but every deal is different. It’s all unique; you won’t be bored, the work never gets monotonous.

What is your most memorable moment working at Livingstone?

Closing my first deal that I worked on from start to finish and working closely with a partner is definitely memorable. I was on the kick-off call, made all the materials, was part of the diligence process, built out the financial models, and when the fee hit, it was gratifying. Each deal is rewarding; getting to be a part of the closing dinner to see it all come together is a great way to experience your hard work come to fruition.

What is the most memorable deal(s) you’ve worked on?

Rumchata – mainly because it was the first deal I was put on, and I got to work with and learn from incredible deal makers. I built my entire skillset there; the deal has provided the structure and foundation for the rest of my time at Livingstone. Plus, it’s a brand people know, so I get to see the brand at a bar which is pretty cool.

Share any advice you have to someone considering joining Livingstone

The greatest draw of this place is the responsibility and autonomy you get here. Being thrown into deals on day one is a great approach. When I speak with other analysts from other banks – it’s never a hard sell to get them interested in Livingstone.

Choosing Livingstone is one of the best decisions I made in my life so far.

You get to live in an incredible city, work in a great area, work with brilliant people, have a good culture, and have the autonomy to run deals.

As for the long hours you put in, listen; it comes with the industry. Livingstone is good about being communicative; if you’re vocal and have family plans, people will step in to help out. It’s an industry problem, but Livingstone alleviates it with how the deal teams step up for each other.

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