Building the careers of the next generation in the North

The long-term health of the corporate finance community in the north is dependent on individuals believing they can build their own successful careers while being based in the regions.

Speaking on The Next Generation panel at the Rainmakers Conference, KPMG’s head of TMT M&A in the north, Nisha Sharma, highlighted the positives for young people gaining experience in their early years.

She said: “Within the KPMG Manchester, Leeds, Newcastle, Liverpool offices, I think what we get is a level of exposure to the deals environment that you probably won’t get as a London-based advisor. We start that off quite early – our juniors are meeting with the C-suite, they are in the thick of it.

“We also have a closer community to tap into. The deals process is really complicated, so there might be points where we need to speak to tax or to transaction services. It’s just so much easier to walk up and down a couple of floors. You build that relationship and this cohort then grows together.”

Mae Salem, partner at Squire Patton Boggs, believes that sense of collaboration isn’t just inside individual firms.

“When you work in the north, there’s a strong sense of community externally as well,” she said. “It’s really important that people have got your back, that everyone wants to develop with you and support your success.

“It’s not unusual for people, even from competitor law firms, to reach out and say, ‘well done’. I think that strong sense of community in the north is actually unrivalled.”

Richard Williams, partner at TDC, agreed that individuals can benefit from “a more accelerated experience, certainly in the earliest days of your career”.

He said: “It’s almost like they talk about being based in the North as if there’s a cage around it. You can be based in the north, you can work across the country, or internationally, it’s never been a geographical restriction from my perspective.

“I might be based here, it doesn’t have any impact on the way we do business across the UK. I think it’s a mindset as much as anything.”

Values and purpose are important factors too, said Endless’s head of due diligence, Kerry Battiscombe.

“I remember when I joined Endless 14 years ago feeling what a dynamic place it was, and also how much we lived by our values,” she said.

“It was all about making things better, looking at where we could invest into the local economy.

“For me, it’s about values and living out those values and just making sure that I go to work every day and I feel like I’ve achieved something.”

Dan Martin, senior director for corporate lending at Shawbrook, emphasised the importance of bringing together an individual’s values with those of the organisation.

“I think it’s ensuring that those young people have a voice within your team so they can very much structure their own set of values, but I also think it’s important that you don’t lose focus from what the operation of your business is, and how that value drives your underlying performance,” he said.

“We let people have the freedom to structure that within the individual teams. Then it’s about inputting those values into the wider performance of the business, driving the positive contribution across the two.”

 believe passionately that the jobs created, specialisms developed, and the entrepreneurs unleashed give the Rainmakers community the right to a seat at the table and a voice in the debate on the economy of the North.

This platform, like the 2024 Rainmakers conference, is an opportunity to not only celebrate the contribution from funds raised and deals created, but also to look to the future at the challenges ahead.

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