When it’s on-campus recruiting time, employers feel compelled to create presentations to talk about their mission and purpose. To talk about challenges and opportunities. To talk about functions and roles.

For Joanna Walker, Evercore’s Head of US Campus Recruitment, and Michelle Joseph (MBA 2017), an Evercore Associate, “talking” about their investment bank seemed an unlikely way to distinguish themselves from the many other investment banks pursuing talent within the world’s leading business schools.

Seeking a more exciting way to communicate the nature of Evercore and what it does, “We engaged our first-year Associates in a conversation,” says Walker. “We asked them, ‘What was great about our campus presence? What did you like about the other presenters? What should we do on campus that students would really appreciate? Help us refine our presentation strategy.’”

“A number of Associates said that if we could make our presentations more interactive, ours would be more interesting,” says Joseph.

Evercore formed a committee and reviewed the possibilities for gamifying recruiting programs, designing them as active events in which participants are invested, rather than as passive presentations for them to merely watch.

The Takeda/Shire case

Eventually, Walker and her team built their first interactive session around a crucial audience insight: “We recognized that most MBAs were career switchers – and that many of them had no experience with finance and were unfamiliar with our industry,” says Walker.

“In our first interactive event,” Joseph says, “we wanted to give a sense of what an investment banking role is like on a day-to-day basis and what an internship or full-time job would look like with Evercore.”

To do so, Evercore decided to build its presentation around a case study. When they added two more ingredients to the recipe – a focus on a familiar industry, amplified by media exposure the audience would recognize – they arrived at the heart of their presentation; a “live” case study about Evercore’s role in a recent M&A: Japan’s largest pharmaceutical company, Takeda acquiring Shire, a UK company.

Why Takeda and Shire? “It was one of the most complex transaction we’ve worked on,” says Joseph. “As the third largest pharma M&A deal in history and the largest Japanese M&A deal in history, it spoke to very unique cross-border trading and regulatory dynamics.” The deal was announced in May 2018 and is expected to close in the first half of 2019 with a transaction value of roughly $79 billion.

Walker and Joseph assembled an Evercore team including Senior Managing Director, John Honts and Managing Director, Brett Kaplan, to present the Takeda/Shire case. Together, they explored the strategic rationale behind the transaction, the regulatory nuances of the UK Takeover Code, negotiations and bid strategy, financing and the roles various people from all sides played in the process.

“Because not every competitor does this,” says Walker, “it made Evercore stand out.” Thirty+ people attended the event, with a comparable number attending subsequent campus events. Evercore continues to maintain follow-up communications with attendees.

Satisfied with the connections Evercore is making as a consequence of its case-based events, the company plans on sustaining its interactive strategy, always focusing on deals that are relatable to students.

Walker offers a final word of advice for recruiters interested in a comparable approach. “Make sure you’re nimble in strategy,” she says. “What works one year may not work the next. You need to watch your audience for cues.”