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Intern Testimonials

Alano Massi
Ari, Greg, and Paren made certain that my experience was one of importance and value. I was involved in numerous deals with responsibilities that included conducting industry research and market analysis, analyzing financial performance, forming strategic buyer lists, creating and editing investment presentations, sitting in on client, firm, and pitch meetings, and listening in on conference calls. Their attention to detail, professionalism, collaborative efforts, and exceptional representation of their clients have become vital lessons in my graduate education, and the key prerequisite in acquiring my full-time position as an Analyst.

Andrew Yagnatovsky
I interned at Lionfish Advisors during the last summer break of my JD/MBA program at USC, in 2013, and found it to be an invaluable experience. I was given assignments running the gamut from financial statement analysis and valuation, to contract drafting, and even to one-on-one deal discussions with private equity groups. I made site visits to clients’ businesses and got to witness their operations firsthand, and am so grateful for all that experience today. Greg, Paren and Ari each provided me with impeccable guidance throughout my internship whenever I needed it, and that guidance was made all the more valuable by their collective decades of experience and divergent areas of expertise. I’m now going through the process of applying for full-time post-graduation positions, and feel so much more confident after having worked at Lionfish, both in terms of my chances of actually receiving an offer, as well as regarding my ability to speak knowledgably about every step of the deal making process, particularly on the sell side. I would recommend interning at Lionfish to anyone who is looking to start a career in investment banking.

Angel Tsao
I interned with LionFish Advisors while completing the first year of my MBA at UCLA Anderson. Working at LionFish was extremely rewarding in many aspects. The people, exposure, and level of responsibility really differentiated the internship experience from programs offered elsewhere.

The LionFish team is composed of highly talented people who are extremely knowledgeable in the lower-middle market M&A space. Simply through watching the team in action, I learned a lot about sell-side research and the intricacies of evaluating companies. Sitting in on meetings with potential clients, I was always fascinated at how quickly Ari and Greg were able to learn about a business. Their questions could quickly pinpoint a company’s strengths and weaknesses, and moreover, they were able to make suggestions to address the weaknesses. I am very grateful to have worked with such great mentors and successful business people.

As an intern, I was able to acquire invaluable skills required at all levels of the sell-side transaction. Such skills included client sourcing, research, and preparing pitch books, etc. Being industry-agnostic, LionFish enabled me to meet business owners from a wide variety of industries. Not only was I exposed to a wider horizon of the business world, I was also taught how to learn the ins and outs of new industries and how to evaluate and analyze different types of companies. I believe the knowledge and experiences gained as an intern at LionFish will prove invaluable to anyone serious in pursuing a career in investment banking or financial services.

Mark Chao
While pursuing my MBA at USC’s Marshall School of Business, I was provided the opportunity to gain invaluable experience in investment banking through an internship at Lionfish Advisors. During my internship, I was provided exposure to the various facets of an M&A transaction, including working on live deals. First-hand experience included participating in prospective and active client meetings, performing financial and valuation analysis, performing industry/company research, creating pitchbooks, and interacting with buy/sell-side senior management and owners. Ari Nadelman and Greg Bennett, the principals of Lionfish, were always available for questions and guidance, and were instrumental to helping me learn and develop as an intern.

Shafaz Jivani
I was an intern at Lionfish Advisors in Santa Monica for 8 months. During my time there I was exposed to all aspects of the M&A process as well as the day to day operations of an investment bank. My role at the firm included financial analysis, drafting offering memoranda, communicating with buyers and clients, and industry research.

Interning at a boutique investment bank provided me with much more exposure and hands-on analysis than I would have received at a bulge bracket firm. I was given opportunities to meet with senior management of our clients, participate in conference calls, and work alongside the partners in various aspects of the transaction. The partners would continuously make themselves available for any questions or feedback, and did a great job providing a mentor relationship.

I highly recommend this internship to anyone looking to gain some exposure and insight into investment banking. As others have mentioned, what you gain out of this internship is directly related to how much effort you put in, and the attitude you bring to the office.

Upon completion of the internship program I was offered a full-time position as an analyst for a buy-side investment fund.

Milan Cvejic
Milan Cvejic was an analyst at Lionfish Advisors while pursuing his MBA at USC’s Marshall School of Business. Regarding his experience, he said, “Working at Lionfish Advisors, I was exposed to all aspects of an M&A mandate. Greg and Ari work very closely with their interns. Because of this, I gained more exposure to the investment banking process than I would have at a larger firm. I was delegated meaningful work which complemented my studies very well. My experience at Lionfish played a large role in my being hired to a full-time position at a Los Angeles-based private equity firm in a difficult job market.”

Aria Ziatabari
I have been an intern for Lionfish Advisors for a year. The purpose of this testimonial is to provide prospective interns with an evaluation of the internship program at Lionfish. Before starting here, the words “Investment Banking” were a set of enigmatic words to me. While I understood the general responsibilities of an investment banker, I knew nothing of the day-to-day operations and responsibilities that are involved in closing deals.

My internship here has been very reflexive in nature. The questions I asked, the effort I put in, and the attitude I came to work with, all directly correlated with the results I received from the experience.

The intern-mentor relationship here is very different from the classroom. Because this is a real-world experience, it is important for the intern to be aware that the main priority of the firm is to be productive and complete transactions. That being said, it is up to the intern to come in wide-eyed and bushy-tailed, ready to ask pertinent questions. It is important for the intern to understand the distinction between inquisitive, pointed questions and mindless counter-productive ones. Because this is a small firm, it is important to stay focused on the tasks of the day and take advantage of the latitude, responsibility, and autonomy this position offers.

The scope of the work for an intern here at Lionfish ranges across most responsibilities an intern at a larger middle market firm would have and more. These are some of the typical responsibilities for an intern at Lionfish: producing valuation reports (discounted cash flow, comparable company analyses, and private transaction comparables), communicating with prospective buyers, working on Offering Memoranda (“pitch-books”), conducting screenings and research on Capital IQ (a commonly used research database amongst investment bankers), working with teasers, and analyzing client financials with MS Excel. Some of the bonus privileges include an invaluable mentoring relationship with two great guys, Greg and Ari. They allow interns to listen in on key conference calls with clients and attend most meetings to allow for culture immersion. The ability to understand the concepts and language investment bankers use is very useful in preparing for interviews.

For students interested in breaking into the world of investment banking or private equity, an internship at Lionfish will provide them with the tools necessary to be successful and marketable in this extremely competitive industry. It is clear to me, at this point, why each intern has successfully been hired into full-time positions following their internships at Lionfish Advisors.

Alex Liu
While completing the second year of my MBA, I interned with Lionfish Advisors in Santa Monica. My internship experience gave me unique insight into the sell side transaction process by exposing me to all aspects of a deal. From understanding the Partners’ deal sourcing process to closing a transaction, I was able to take what I learned in the classroom and apply real world context to my education. My internship went beyond sitting in office preparing models and analyzing financial statements and involved close client contact. I was given immediate hands on experience working with client management, including owners and CEOs.

The firm’s partners were always readily available for questions and provide mentoring and feedback for the projects I worked on. The internship is a great experience for anyone looking to gain greater understanding of investment banking.

Nivan Bhuta
I interned with Lionfish Advisors in the spring of 2008 while completing the final semester of my MBA. The experience of working directly along side senior partners on all levels of transaction execution provided a solid foundation for my career in finance. Within my first week I got to meet with the senior management of the bank’s client companies to discuss growth opportunities and investment consideration for potential investors. By working in close-knit deal teams, I was included in high level strategic discussions as well as routine steps, like modeling, research and drafting offering memoranda. Overall, the internship allowed me to integrate the business acumen I had developed in my Master’s program into real-world transactional experience.

The founding partners in the firm although under typical pressured deadlines were readily available for feedback and advice which made the internship an invaluable learning experience. I am still in touch with Ari and Greg and they have been an asset to my professional growth both as mentors and in providing solid references.

My experience at Lionfish was fundamental in my job placement as an Associate at a boutique investment bank upon completion of my MBA.

Jessmy D'Souza
I interned with Lionfish Advisors for six months (first half of 2008) while completing the final year of my MBA. Prior to joining Lionfish, I worked for over five years as a consultant with a boutique Human Resources firm in Tokyo, Japan. I graduated with an undergraduate degree in Economics from St. Xaviers University, Mumbai, India.

My role was to put together pitch-books to sell early stage companies with $10M to $30M of enterprise value. Creation of a “Strap Plan”, business valuation, sell-side research, project budgeting, and sensitivity analyses were all integral parts of offering memoranda creation.

My MBA education had given me the tools essential to design valuation models, identify value ranges for firms and draft offering memoranda. However, for me, the greatest learning experience at Lionfish was developing the art of interviewing seasoned entrepreneurs. This helped me develop insight into building forecast models and risks associated with the sale of our clients’ firms. Winning the clients’ trust was essential to ensure there would be no “skeletons in the closet” that could jeopardize closing of the deal.

The founding partners, Greg and Ari also included me in their consulting value add discussions with the buyer around recapitalizations, organic growth, and acquisition growth.

This hands-on experience was instrumental in helping me land a position in Business Strategy & Corporate Finance both with J.D. Power & Associates (a McGraw Hill Group Company) and more recently here at NMB U.S.A. (Minebea Group of Companies). My experience since graduation and leaving Lionfish has been on the other side of the negotiating table as a buyer. I am comfortable being part of the transactional process and can hone into motivations of all parties concerned. The real-world knowledge attained from my internship at Lionfish has been key in helping me through the transactional and post-acquisition integration process.

Marcelle Howard
Working with Ari and Greg at Lionfish Advisors was a pivotal experience that launched my career transition to investment banking. I came to Lionfish Advisors with a passion for finance; however, I had no prior experience in valuation or M&A. I joined Lionfish as an intern in October 2007, as a second-year master of public policy and economics degree candidate, and went on to work for Houlihan Lokey following graduation in 2008.

I obtained more knowledge from Ari and Greg in the months comprising my internship than I could have hoped to learn in the classroom. The amalgamation of patience, challenging tasks and exceptional M&A acumen exposure I received at Lionfish built my financial skills to rival those of any competitive entry-level candidate. I not only learned technical research and modeling, but also the nuances of building and maintaining client relationships. Ari and Greg’s guidance on projects including offering memorandums, valuations, buy-side research and sell-side research further boosted my confidence that I would be able to fulfill the expectations placed upon me in a full-time position.

The crux of my internship was built upon Ari and Greg’s big-picture knowledge on M&A and investment banking. As a result, I acquired a well-rounded skill-set that prepared me for a successful career transition. I wholly attribute my present career at Houlihan Lokey to my beginning at Lionfish Advisors. I greatly respect and admire Ari and Greg, both as mentors and educators, and aspire to exhibit their degree of professionalism in my endeavors.

Jonathan Tenan
I interned at Lionfish Advisors after completing my BA from Yale University. By working closely with the principals, Ari and Greg, I was afforded a unique perspective into the day-today operations of financial advisory services. Daily duties included updating and expanding the Lionfish database of potential buyers and sellers, creating and editing pitch books and evaluating clients’ liquidity via comparable transactions and financial statements.

Through the internship I gained a valuable social and technical skill set. Ari and Greg helped me hone these skills, which ultimately landed me a full-time job as an acquisitions analyst with Rexford Industrial.


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Phone: (310) 396-8000 or Toll-free: (866) 808-5815 | Email: info@lionfishadvisors.com