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Real Humans of Citi: Nicholas Deakin, LBS ’17, VP of Investment Banking

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You may have a Citi credit card in your wallet and, if you’re a New York Mets baseball fan, you’ve probably been to Citi Field.  These are just small potatoes compared to the scope and scale of Citi, which is the third largest bank in the U.S. with a market capitalization over $160B.

Each year, Citi recruits hundreds of MBA candidates.  In this edition of Real Humans – Alumni, we meet a London Business School MBA graduate who joined Citi’s healthcare division of investment banking.  Dr. Nicholas Deakin, who was already leading the way in business school, discusses why he chose to join ibanking and focus on healthcare, as well as how an MBA still enables him to thrive in a globally diverse workplace.  Read on for his story.

Dr. Nicholas Deakin, LBS ’17, VP of Healthcare Investment Banking at Citi

Age: 31
Hometown: Staffordshire, UK
Undergraduate Institution and Major: University of Bristol, Medicine & Surgery (MD)
Graduate Business School, Graduation Year and Concentration: London Business School, 2017 (Finance & Strategy)
Pre-MBA Work Experience (years, industry): 3, Healthcare and Consulting
Post-MBA Work Experience (years, industry): 2.5, Investment Banking

Why did you choose to attend business school?
I wanted to learn how to lead and manage change, so I could impact the health system and bring innovation to the bedside. That’s the summary. I saw at McKinsey how big institutions can either stifle or promote positive changes, and learnt during my research fellowship at Harvard Business School how we assess value in healthcare. Business school was the link, which, I identified, would give me the knowledge and power to give the people with ideas and solutions to improve patient care, the finances to implement them.

Why London Business School? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
LBS brings together everything I wanted from the business school experience. A great brand name that academically would equip me with the knowledge to excel, a diverse environment that would push me to be the best version of myself, and the benefits of being in the financial capital of the world – which incidentally is where I wanted to stay.

What about your MBA experience prepared you for your current career?
Aside from the knowledge of strategy frameworks and financial technical skills, the classes that I use each day are the organizational behaviour classes. In a people business, which essentially investment banking is, it’s amazing how much motivating people, prioritizing and communicating effectively can do in terms of improving performance and efficiency.

Outside of finance and strategy, I really did learn how to ask the right questions. I’m still refining my strategy skills and learning as a research tutor in the faculty of Strategy & Entrepreneurship at LBS and have recently started teaching Corporate Finance at ESCP Business School in London.

What was your internship during business school?  How did that inform your post-MBA career choice?
I interned at Citi in the healthcare investment banking (IB) team. I received a great deal of exposure and worked with C-suite members of leading global healthcare companies. I then decided to come back post-MBA to continue gaining exposure to such companies and learn more about the full range of financial transactions. I’m now a Vice President in the team (having had an early promotion this year), with a special emphasis on growing companies.

Why did you choose your current company? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to work?
Whilst all investment banks offer a similar range of products and exposure, Citi appealed for three key reasons. First, the investment bank is a truly global platform and I work with my colleagues from the US, Hong Kong, Australia and continental Europe on a daily basis.

Second, throughout the recruitment cycle, they made clear that they hire MBAs with a view to them becoming the next cohort of Managing Directors (MDs) – a company with my development at the fore was particularly appealing given my experience of mentoring and support in medicine. I wanted to get out of the office to see clients as soon as possible.

Third, I’d liked spending time with everyone I’d experienced at the bank during recruiting and as a Summer Associate, and I felt this was important when I knew about the intensity of the work in IB.

Advice to current MBA students:

  • One thing you would absolutely do again as part of the job search? Use your network and make connections, whether it’s through diversity networks, friends, former colleagues or alumni. You need to stand out and a recommendation is instrumental to this.
  • One thing you would change or do differently? I would have been even more structured about how I spent my time.
  • Were there any surprises regarding your current employer’s recruiting process? The emphasis on the long term was surprising to me, and Citi said they were recruiting for their future MD pipeline, so there was a strong emphasis on personal effectiveness and leadership in the process.
  • What piece of advice do you wish you had been given during your MBA? To keep a log of all the people I experienced and write down key memorable pieces of information about them. It’s amazing how fast the ‘real world’ absorbs your headspace.

What’s the best thing about working for your current employer?
Definitely the client exposure. I’m having conversations most weeks with C-suite leaders who are truly changing how healthcare is delivered around the world. Citi supports this as a learning experience and one that will pay dividends to the business in the medium- to long-term.

Lauren Wakal
Lauren Wakal has been covering the MBA admissions space for more than a decade, from in-depth business school profiles to weekly breaking news and more.