A tour of the city with Cleary Gottlieb

Polina Lyadnova, Natalie Farmer and Byron Spring from Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton explain how the company is introducing sixth-form students to deal-making…

On Tuesday 3 July, Cleary Gottlieb teamed up with volunteers from TPG, Bank of America Merrill Lynch and KPMG in a unique initiative designed to introduce sixth-form students to deal-making in the City of London.

The “Tour of the City” initiative was co-written by the four firms in partnership with the National Literacy Trust’s Words for Work programme in order to provide real insight into how accountancy firms, banks, lawyers and private equity firms work together in large corporate transactions.

The firms developed a fictional transaction in which a private equity firm was to purchase a UK retailer. The students were split into groups to analyse accounts, exercise commercial judgements and even to take part in a mock negotiation to finalise the deal. The activities both introduced the students to the business concepts relevant to buying and selling a business and exemplified the importance of effective literacy and communication skills in a wide range of business roles.

This initiative emerged from the efforts of all four participating firms to widen access to the City. Business Studies students from the Lilian Baylis Technology School in Kennington took part in the initiative: a school in which over 90% of students are eligible for the Pupil Premium, most students are from an ethnic minority background and over half of the students speak English as an additional language.

Our volunteers were struck by just how engaged and enthusiastic the students were, and we hope that many of them will have been inspired to pursue careers in the City. At the end of the day, the students were asked whether they would themselves advise the private equity firm to invest in the deal. To our surprise, most of the 17 year-olds displayed a high level of risk aversion. But we were delighted to see that such risk aversion stemmed from independent judgments that actively applied the skills and concepts that they had learned during the day.

Cleary Gottlieb is looking forward to holding another “Tour of the City” to give further students interested in the corporate world a unique start to their career journeys, and would like to thank TPG, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, KPMG and the National Literacy Trust for their work in developing the content and innovative format of the day.

Find out more about the Vision for Literacy Business Pledge.