From Investment Banking to Private Equity: Interview with SHS Investment Manager Anna Schleifer
1. You have been part of the SHS team since September 2022. Before that, you were an associate at a renowned investment bank in Frankfurt. What was your field of activity there?
I was employed as an analyst for 2.5 years before I was promoted to associate shortly before leaving. I mainly worked on M&A processes, especially from a sell-side perspective, and occasionally on ECM issues. My tasks consisted of project management of these processes. Among other things, one coordinates consultants who examine the company with regard to different specialist areas and prepares it for the sale. Furthermore, one is also the external contact person for interested buyers, for example, as soon as the market approach has begun.
My tasks were very diverse and I had the opportunity to get to know many different areas in a relatively short time. On the other hand, it is precisely this intensity and brevity of the projects that make it difficult to gain deeper insights into the company.
2. Was this the reason that led you to specialize differently in the future?
Absolutely. For the reasons mentioned, I was keen to move to the buy-side and get to know the entire investment cycle of a company. The growth capital area within private equity (PE) has interested me for a long time. Here, you usually invest for the long term and get deep into the company’s development. Even before the investment, you think about a growth strategy and then implement it in close cooperation with the management team. This makes the work very challenging.
3. You had many offers to choose from during your application phase. Why did you choose SHS?
I looked at many different companies. Among them were family offices, fund of funds, venture capital and private equity funds, both based in Germany and Switzerland.
My interest in growth capital, as just described, spoke in favour of SHS. I also wanted to keep the focus on the healthcare sector.
I also liked the fact that SHS has a small team. So you get to hear all the processes, your own voice is heard and you have the opportunity to shape the structure of the company.
I was also fascinated by the current phase of the fund cycle. SHS has just launched a new fund generation with a significantly increased fund volume. Being involved in a new fund from the beginning means that the investment opportunities are still very broad and, even as a relatively new team member, I have the chance to experience an investment from purchase to investment management to sale.
Finally, the application process was carried out quickly and professionally. SHS also allows everyone to work from home, which is very helpful on certain days.
4. What is your day-to-day work at SHS like (perhaps also compared to your day-to-day work at the investment bank)?
My work at SHS is very independent. Whereas in investment banking you work much more closely with a client and often have to coordinate, at SHS I have a lot of flexibility in my day-to-day work and also often have topics to work on independently. I can proactively look for new investment opportunities and have a lot of responsibility.
Of course, major investment decisions at SHS are also discussed and voted on in plenary sessions. But votes and discussions always take place democratically and at eye level. In addition, the flat hierarchies and the short official channels make both professional and personal feedback quick and easy.
At SHS, too, my work consists to a certain extent of providing assistance to others, and because of the small size of the team, everyone has to lend a hand everywhere. At the same time, my working hours are more flexible, and I can mostly arrange my own working day.
5. You were born in Berlin and studied in France and the Netherlands before moving to Frankfurt. As a child of the big city, was it a huge change to move to Tübingen?
In fact, moving to Tübingen worried me the most. It is the smallest and southernmost city in Germany that I have ever lived in.
That’s why I already found out what the city has to offer before I accepted. In fact, I don’t miss anything here. I like to do endurance sports in my free time, and Tübingen has countless running and hiking trails in the nearby nature reserves, as well as several good swimming pools. Since Tübingen is a very international student city, there are many small cafés, bars and restaurants in the beautiful old town, which are overflowing, especially at weekends. If you do want to leave the city, it’s a short drive to Stuttgart for the bigger clubs, Lake Constance or the mountains for skiing.
I’m happy to be able to pursue my hobbies alongside work. I have started taking piano lessons and am also more ambitious again in triathlon. We also often do things together in the team outside of work. The average age of the team is very mixed, from the founder in early retirement to the 28-year-old CFO. Everyone is welcome to join us for an after-work drink by the Neckar.
Thank you very much for the interview!