Harry Barr participated in Macquarie’s Spring and Summer Internship Programme before joining Macquarie Capital as a full-time Graduate Analyst in the summer of 2021. Harry tells us about his career journey so far and explains why Macquarie’s programmes offer a highly valuable opportunity to embrace responsibility early on in your career.
Harry studied Politics with Economics at the University of Bath and in 2019, he participated in Macquarie’s Spring Insight Programme, amongst various other Insight Programmes across Banking, Private Equity, Asset Management, and Consulting. Harry’s experience at Macquarie, in particular, left him keen to learn more. Harry comments that “I was keen to match my willingness to learn, with people who were willing to teach. Everybody I spoke to from Macquarie was generous with their time and, importantly for me, clearly passionate about what they were doing. The individuals I met also emphasised the fact that Macquarie’s culture is highly meritocratic and entrepreneurial, which was really appealing.”
Harry then went on to take part in the Summer Internship Programme with Macquarie Capital’s Complex Opportunities team, which sits within its Infrastructure and Energy Capital division. Harry received a full-time offer for the following year and is now more than 12 months into his graduate programme.
Harry explains that the Complex Opportunities team is focussed on making principal investments in infrastructure and energy-related sectors throughout Europe, but also has the flexibility to be involved in opportunities in an advisory capacity. The team has a highly flexible mandate to focus on opportunities that might not suit a typical infrastructure investor due to a variety of possible factors, generally relating to their complexity or risk profile. Consequently, the team benefits from exposure to a large variety of sectors, transaction structures, and business in different stages of the asset lifecycle. Harry notes that typically Analysts in the team tend to work on multiple projects at any one time, with the range of deliverables for each one depending on how far the transaction is progressed.
Early-stage opportunities for a potential deal will generally involve a lot of research, verification of data, financial analysis, and the development of internal presentations and discussion materials. For live deals, there is a greater emphasis on process management and coordinating input from external advisors and other teams. For principal work, once an investment has been made, the team are then closely involved in the day-to-day oversight of a business, often spending a lot of time liaising with management team on strategy and operations.
“The common aspect of all these tasks is the requirement for an analytical balance between quantitative and qualitative understanding. For me, the most interesting part of the role has been learning how to take a piece of analysis and convey the narrative in a way that is logical and compelling”.
Since joining, Harry has had the opportunity to be involved in a number of projects and recognises how much responsibility he has been offered, but notes that there has been a great degree of support from the team in parallel.
Harry highlights, “Macquarie has a strong focus on allowing people to unlock their potential by encouraging new hires to be as involved as possible from day one, which is really positive. You are encouraged to continue taking things on to the extent that you are capable and interested”.
Looking back, Harry explains how steep the learning curve is during the initial months. “The work became really interesting really quickly; the intensity of the role also means you learn a great deal in a very short space of time. I think that this is a real draw for motivated graduates, who are excited by the idea of expediting their professional development. That said, it is also clear that the learning never really slows down, once you can demonstrate a mastery of one thing, you have the opportunity to move onto the next and continue developing”.
Harry concludes his reflections on the key aspects of the Macquarie culture that energise him, “responsibility and ownership motivate me personally and I am excited about the possibilities offered by the entrepreneurial culture — you are really encouraged to develop and expand your own ideas, which I think is relatively unique within a large global business.” Harry adds that “it’s also great being part of such a diverse team and having the ability to work with people across the globe.”
Harry’s tips to new graduates at Macquarie include being upfront in asking for support when needed - “you have support to the extent that you need it — but you also need to be able to ask for it and be honest where there are gaps in your knowledge that you need to fill.” He also recommends trying to make the most of the opportunities that are offered, “from day one, there is a genuine openness to being critically involved. For me, for example, there was a window to talk directly to a client and lead on some discussions after only six months. You have the chance to embrace tasks that push you beyond your comfort zone, which I think is the fastest way to develop your skills”.
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