My Journey to Portfolio Valuation at Houlihan Lokey

Aaditya Shah

My Journey to Portfolio Valuation at Houlihan Lokey

My Background

My name is Aaditya Shah, and I am from New Delhi, India. I am currently a senior at Emory University. At Emory, I am double majoring in Economics and Finance. I decided to come to Emory as it provided an outstanding balance between city life and campus life. Moreover, I was always interested in Business, and Emory offered an excellent business program that was hard to say no to.

At Emory, I am part of the Emory Entrepreneurship and Venture Management Club (EEVM) and the Emory Economics Society. Both these clubs helped accelerate my learning curve and improved my behavioral as well as technical skills. By interacting with senior club members and learning from their experiences, I understood what I was interested in. Hence, I started working towards developing essential skills that would get me closer to achieving my goal.

I came across Romero Mentoring through EEVM’s careers slack channel. At first, I was a little skeptical about the program. However, after my first-round interview with Mr. Luis Romero, my whole outlook changed. I realized that, given my international student status, I had to differentiate myself from other applicants, and Romero Mentoring offered me just that. After just four months of mentorship, I was able to build complex financial models with various
supporting schedules. Moreover, I was able to develop my own Price Target and deploy my very own investment strategy to grow my portfolio. This experience was the most valuable experience that I had on my resume.

Why I Decided to Apply for Portfolio Valuation

I decided to apply to the Portfolio Valuation group at Houlihan Lokey as I believe that it was a great step up from my position of an Equity Research Analyst at Romero Capital. As an Equity Research Analyst, I learned valuation methodologies that applied to equities. However, I wanted to focus on other asset classes as well and learn the valuation methodologies associated with them. This group will expose me to different debt classes and other illiquid assets that appear on a Hedge Fund or a Private Equity Fund’s balance sheet. Furthermore, while valuing assets for these companies, I will also get exposed to their investing strategy, which is extremely unique.

The Interview Process

The interview process for the PVFA group at Houlihan Lokey included one 30-minute first-round Zoom interview followed by two 30-minute final round interviews. For each of my interviews, I brushed up on my technicals using the modules that were provided by Romero Mentoring for the Analyst Prep Program and the WSO Technical Guide. Given my experience at Romero Mentoring, I did not have to focus a lot on the technicals. As for the behavioral, I prepared a concise answer for each of the following questions:

1. Walk me through your resume.

2. Why Houlihan Lokey?

3. Why Portfolio Valuation?

4. Why should we hire you?

5. What are your top 3 strengths and weaknesses?

I prepared answers to these questions by researching the company culture, the interviewer, and some introspection within. I realized that the thing that helped me out the most was the fact that I was my own person, and instead of trying to impress the interviewer, I focused more on expressing myself and giving them a taste of who I actually am.

As far as questions are concerned, I was asked a lot of technical questions on the Discounted Cash Flow Model, Levered Free Cash Flow, and Un-levered Free Cash Flow, Debt Valuation Methodology, Private Company Valuation Methodology, Company Comparable Analysis, and basic Accounting. On the behavioral side, I was asked the general questions that I have provided above.

Final Thoughts and Remarks

My final advice would be to have a genuine interest in the position you are applying for. Showing false interest in a position is the first thing that leads to a rejection letter. Relating to rejection, you must realize that rejection is part of the process. Applicants must take rejection seriously but not too seriously that it overwhelms them and stops them from trying again. All in all, the most important thing for me was being myself and being truly present in the moment. I was neither holding onto my past nor to my future. I just focused on giving my best on every question the interviewer asked. This journey is a great learning experience, as, through this, I have been able to learn my true identity and get closer to my calling.

About the Author

Aaditya Shah

Aaditya Shah is an undergraduate student at Emory University’s Goizueta Business School with a double major in economics and finance. He currently serves as a Private Equity Analyst intern at Decatur Road Capital, an Equity Research Analyst intern at Romero Research and community leader at Romero Mentoring. On campus, Aaditya is involved in multiple student club organizations including Emory Entrepreneurship, Venture Management Club and Emory Economic Society. In his free time, he enjoys playing and watching basketball, cooking, and traveling. Aaditya is an Analyst Prep Program, 2020 alum.