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Carolyn Crooks

My Working Day: Carolyn Crooks

14 June 2018

Carolyn Crooks is Managing Director at Barclays Investment Bank in New York. She lives in Annapolis, Maryland with her three children and husband Mark. She works from home one to two days a week, spending the remainder in New York. She talks about her frequent 3am starts, the “beauty” of connecting with clients – and why no two days are ever the same.

My alarm goes off… no later than 6am, but on days that I am commuting to New York I am up at 3.15am. That’s once or twice a week depending on how my meeting schedule is looking. I'm not a creature of habit when it comes to my breakfast – except for coffee, which is an absolute staple. My working day typically starts at around 8am, but in this job you’re reachable 24/7 – so there is rarely an “end” time to my day. 

My job involves… managing the financial sponsor clients, helping connect the resources we have here at Barclays from committing capital to finance acquisitions, leveraging our investment bankers and their sector expertise, and continuing to show new acquisition opportunities to my clients. Once a private equity client has acquired a company, my job is to make sure Barclays stays relevant to that company through the life cycle of ownership, so that if the company looks to buy additional assets we can help finance them, and help bring new acquisition ideas – and ultimately help them to monetize either through sale or an IPO. I am basically the key contact for the private equity client and manage the relationship between the clients and Barclays.

Carolyn Crooks with family

I got the job… after working as a summer analyst at Lehman Brothers just after completing my undergraduate degree in business. I started in 2002 as a full-time analyst in the real estate investment banking group, and then went to equity capital markets. I stayed there for 13 years and over that time I covered a broad range of sectors. Then in 2008 Lehman Brothers became Barclays, and I never left the building so to speak. In August, I transferred within Investment Banking to the Financial Sponsors Coverage group. 

There is no average day in my job. I work on multiple client situations each day and no two days are the same. I might be working on a financing for one of their portfolio companies, pitching our financing capabilities to my Financial Sponsors clients for a new acquisition opportunity they may be considering, or meeting a management team of one of the sponsors’ portfolio companies. There is no routine – every week is different and that’s what I love about it.

My best day at work was… hard to choose! All memories involve partnering with a client to achieve a milestone. There are two examples that spring to mind. The first was the enormously successful pricing of an IPO that Barclays led. It was the culmination of over three years of work and the reward of seeing the management team’s joy was unforgettable. The second was successfully negotiating for Barclays to commit credit to facilitate an acquisition for one of my private equity clients. It was a trickier credit and smaller transaction, so there was a ton of negotiation back and forth. In the end, I was at the centre of a solution that worked for Barclays and the client, and the client relationship with our firm was strengthened by it.

The most difficult part of my job is… two things. The first is figuring out my role of being an intermediary – being an advocate for the clients whilst also protecting the firm. The other is when you offer the client advice but they don’t take it. Sometimes they might go ahead and take an action that you would’ve advised against, and when it turns out poorly it’s never an easy thing to watch.

The thing I love most about my job is… the client interactions. I love working with clients, and figuring out what their issues are. I think I am a good listener, so that’s my strong suit: dealing with clients and creating connections with them. That’s the beauty of this role: I might connect with one person differently to another, and that’s why diversity is essential to success. What creates commonality with one client will undoubtedly be different from the next.

After work… When I’m at home, my focus is my husband and our children. Outside of the family, I’m very involved in our church. I love the outdoors and spend time hiking and camping with the family. I also enjoy going to gym classes, jogging and catching up with friends.