Culture Corner: New minds, new perspectives (Sam Factor)
Each month, we usually interview a Richter partner to gain insight into how our leadership finds balance and focus in a demanding job, and what non-technical skills contribute to career success.
However! For the summer, we’re switching it up a bit. For the next few months, we will be chatting with our summer interns, to learn more about their experience at Richter, and what working life is like at the very start of their young careers.
This month features a unique perspective from Sam Factor, our Consulting intern that did a rotation through our Restructuring, VLT and Risk practices.
You did a Consulting rotation this summer and worked with our Restructuring, Risk and VLT teams. Without having to pick favorites (that would be mean!) tell us about your experiences this summer; what did you work on while in the various divisions?
Sam Factor (SF): Overall, I’ve had an amazing experience at Richter. The Consulting rotational program was incredible and really allowed me to gain a wide variety of experience and knowledge in a short amount of time. Not only did I learn a lot throughout the program, I had the privilege of meeting and working with so many talented and intelligent people. The variety of work was definitely my favorite part about the program. Looking back at the work that I’ve done, I realized just how drastically different it was between groups. In the VLT group I was primarily finance focused, looking at past M&A activity and helping with the valuation of accounts. While in the Risk group, I took a deep dive into cyber security software applications and implementation. The groups were very different, yet equally interesting.
What were your expectations for this internship? Is it what you expected or has anything surprised you?
SF: Originally I had applied and was interviewed for a purely Restructuring role, however I was then informed that I would be part of the rotational program in consulting, which was new to Richter in Toronto, that was a surprise. Another thing that came as a surprise to me is how much interaction I had with the VPs and partners on a regular basis. My perception of a stereotypical Bay Street firm was definitely proven wrong. Regardless of what group I was in, every partner was welcoming, approachable and willing to help.
What’s been your favorite thing about working at the firm?
SF: My favorite thing about working at Richter is definitely the people. The partners are very friendly and approachable, which definitely trickled down to the rest of the staff. Rotating through three groups gave me a chance to not only get to know the people I was working with, but also those around me. Everyone was happy to chat about things outside of work, which gave me a chance to really get to know people on a more personal level.
Did you learn anything about the non-technical side of the business, or perhaps what soft skills will be most important in your future career?
SF: Since Consulting is a client-facing industry, it’s important to understand how to properly interact and speak with a client. Whether you are pitching your services or in the middle of a difficult engagement it seems there is a certain finesse in the way Consultants speak with clients in order to help them understand their thought processes. As someone who is looking to start a career in the industry, this soft skill will be definitely be important in the near future.
Another non-technical skill that I found to be crucial in this industry is the importance of establishing relationships. A strong relationship with clients is obviously important, but it is also essential with other colleagues, too. It’s definitely important for you to trust the person you’re working with and be comfortable working with them, and vice versa.
What advice would you give to younger students looking to land an internship at a firm like Richter?
SF: Networking is crucial! I think there are really two main benefits that you get as a result from speaking with people. Firstly, it helps to get your name circulating around the firm and shows that you are actually interested in potentially working there. This will definitely help separate you from others that may have similar credentials and qualifications. Secondly, speaking with people lets you learn more about their experiences at the firm, understand the culture and see if it is genuinely a match with your values and interests. I think a good place to start is to reach out to people who work at the firm you’re interested in that graduated from your school. They were in your shoes not too long ago and 99% of the time they are more than happy to pay it forward.
About Richter : Founded in Montreal in 1926, Richter is a licensed public accounting firm that provides assurance, tax and wealth management services, as well as financial advisory services in the areas of organizational restructuring and insolvency, business valuation, corporate finance, litigation support, and forensic accounting. Our commitment to excellence, our in-depth understanding of financial issues and our practical problem-solving methods have positioned us as one of the most important independent accounting, organizational advisory and consulting firms in the country. Richter has offices in both Toronto and Montreal. Follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.