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LAVA series: Working at a challenger boutique – career development and partnerships with colleagues

From enjoying the freedom to go after deals you want to work on to having greater influence to shape your organisation, our latest blog series has been exploring the benefits of working for a boutique firm on the M&A scene.

With backgrounds in large corporates, our team has been providing weekly observations of their LAVA career so far to shine a light on what it’s like working for an independent firm.

In our latest blogs, Associate Millie Counsell discusses the subject of training and development for both career and personal progression and, Associate Director Tom Rowe-Jones addresses internal collaboration and idea-sharing, touching on the benefits of working as part of a smaller team, as well as the elements he, at first, found challenging.  

“Benefiting from more tailored personal and career development” Millie Counsell, Associate

For me, the beauty of working for a challenger boutique is the ability to have open and honest conversations about what professional and sometimes personal development is needed.

Starting with a clean slate allows the team to evaluate what training may actually be required, rather than just spending time on unnecessary courses as a tick-box exercise.

By carefully selecting our internal training options, there is also a dedication to getting the most out of the experience.

Part of building a team with a broad skill set is the ability to share these skills internally, recognising that not all training needs to be formal or externally provided. This has led to brilliant ongoing development for all members of the team at LAVA.

“Having more effective partnerships with colleagues and seeing your ideas come to fruition”Tom Rowe-Jones, Associate Director 

‘Collaboration’, ‘partnerships’ and ‘idea-sharing’ are all buzzwords used by corporate organisations to describe the working environment they have fostered and expect within their businesses. Whilst this may be achievable to a certain extent, the natural barrier to individuals making a tangible difference to the way their organisations operate and perform through these practices is the size of the organisation itself.

One thing I’ve found to be incredibly beneficial since joining LAVA (and it took me a while to get comfortable with it!) is our mission to ‘use a beginners mindset’.

Bringing ingenuity and fresh thinking to our daily work, as well as each client interaction, means collaboration and idea-sharing are a bi-product of how we operate.

The simple fact that we can quickly ensure everyone in the business is on a Teams call or in the same room in the office means collating everyone’s thoughts and ideas is not only easy but also actively encouraged and enjoyable.

Being part of an M&A boutique and operating like this provides both a benefit to the business as a whole and to the individuals within the company itself. Given our size, we can be flexible, agile and quick to implement any ideas any one of us comes up with, allowing us to challenge our competitors, break the status quo and provide the best service for our clients.

As an individual working in that environment and seeing your ideas taken on board and implemented, it is hugely rewarding and encouraging to know that you can make a difference and contribute to the business’s success.


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