• Bio: A Managing Director within Rothschild’s Global Financial Advisory business, Luba Kotzeva has 15 years of advisory experience and over £35 billion of successful transactions. She is dedicated to the Energy and Power team, with particular sector experience and expertise in the nuclear energy sector.
  • Role: Managing Director
  • Location: London
  • Organisation: Rothschild

Luba Kotzeva

Too many options – finding the right career

When I applied for jobs in the City I thought I would see what the finance world comprised of before becoming a barrister. It was too soon to know, even after securing a graduate job at Rothschild, that financial advisory was the right career for me, but what I knew at the time was that I wanted a stimulating and interesting career. Having energy, drive and enthusiasm allowed me to get the graduate role and now 15 years later I am a Managing Director at Rothschild. I have an established, interesting and intellectually stimulating career at one of the most prestigious and enduring global financial advisory firms in the City. I feel empowered, confident, connected and happy.

Fantastic experience

When I started at Rothschild aged 21 I did not know what to expect. Each year the role would grow and evolve – it stayed fresh and interesting as I developed through my career.

Here’s an overview of that evolution, from my first role to my current position:

  • Gathering and interpreting relevant information.
  • Analysing business performance.
  • Peer benchmarking.
  • Financial modelling (valuations).
  • Process and project management – coordinating and leading other advisers (lawyers, accountants, technical experts, market consultants).
  • Managing teams and client interface.
  • Formulating tactical and strategic advice.
  • Negotiating commercial aspects in legal agreements.
  • Preparing public market disclosure documents.
  • Establishing long-term client relationships.
  • Driving new business with origination of new ideas and company board-level strategic dialogue.

I am still always learning and taking on new responsibilities, interacting with clients and colleagues. In the City, you are surrounded by bright people who work hard to make difficult but important projects happen in an ever-changing external environment.

Hard work yet rewarding

The significant amount of effort, time and hard work has been repaid in the accrual of knowledge, experience, friendships, business contacts, financial security, and a huge amount of personal satisfaction and sense of achievement.

For me, a key motivator is seeing that my advice is more than just theoretical, or achieves only marginal efficiency improvements. It relates to resolving real-world challenges that have important and wide reaching impacts. The business world that I work in requires honesty, trust, independence, responsibility and long-term relationships for winning and retaining clients.

High profile

My job is diverse and stimulating with a lot of international travel. I have had the privilege to work with inspirational male and female leaders – a President, a number of European Prime Ministers, Ministers, EU Commissioners and Heads of Directorates, CEOs, business and legal partners and inspirational colleagues. The common feature of those leaders I have noted is the focus on the topic under discussion, even if the time available for thought and review was incredibly short. They listen and consider before acting, and they don’t get derailed by challenge.

Inspirational – the value of diversity

I hope that by sharing this I can inspire those who are considering a career in banking, and increase the proportion of women applying to the industry, even by a small fraction. I am too frequently the only woman in negotiation rooms with 15-20 professionals from different disciplines and nationalities. However, by standing out I can use this to my advantage to make an impact and be listened to when delivering key messages in challenging situations.

Greater diversity is good for business. There is no reason why a City advisory job should not appeal to all genders and nationalities, especially women. For instance, the hours are not longer and tend to be more flexible than most law-firms where women represent more than 50% of the intake. The challenge of raising a family in this business is no greater in comparison to other careers and arguably the financial compensation and working location flexibility provide a great advantage.

In my career I have quickly progressed through the ranks whilst retaining an evolving, interesting and intellectually stimulating job. I have made conscious choices along the way, balancing time and energy in return for the fascinating experiences.

Best of luck with your career choices and enjoy the journey.

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