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How Tech is Reshaping the M&A Career Path

Discover how technology, including AI and corporate development software, is transforming traditional career paths in mergers & acquisitions and setting firms apart in the industry.

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March 3, 2023

Technology has untold capabilities, from disrupting — and even creating — entire industries to fundamentally changing our daily lives. With this comes a wealth of opportunities for those who learn how to use the latest and greatest developments, such as corporate development software, to their advantage.

We’re seeing this increasingly manifest itself in the way people progress through their careers, including those in the mergers & acquisitions industry. But to understand how tech is reshaping the traditional M&A career path, it's important to first understand the status quo. We’ll also touch on how advancements like AI are reshaping organizations and firms using this technology to set themselves apart from the competition.

The Status Quo of Careers at M&A Advisory Firms

For decades, the M&A career path has been rather strict: go to business school, land an internship, get an MBA, become an analyst, and slowly but surely advance through the ranks. This could be at one of the top mergers and acquisitions consulting firms, a boutique m&a consulting firm, or an M&A advisory firm. And after years of work, finally make your own deals, get face time with clients and prospective investment opportunities, and make the big bucks.

But following the traditional path is no longer the only way. Technology such as investment banking software is opening new doors at both smaller and larger firms. When one person can bring the same processing power as a whole team thanks to their use and knowledge of innovative, tech-enabled processes, that person can provide value in new and different ways.

Even within one of the top mergers and acquisitions consulting firms, a tech-savvy candidate can be more attractive than one who uses only traditional methods. We saw this in a recent webinar, The Next Generation of Dealmaking: Unlock New Skills to Accelerate Your Career, where our panel of leaders each made it through the M&A recruitment process and cemented their place in M&A through their innovative use of technology.

The bottom line is that tech has the power to progress careers in ways never before possible. Many firms are even creating entirely new departments and job functions to accelerate and improve their data and technology usage.

The Rise of AI and Machine Learning in M&A

Private equity, corporate development, and investment banking have long relied on the same tactics: networking, conferences, face-to-face meetings, etc. While those tactics will likely always be a part of the dealmaking process, they’re being augmented and streamlined with AI and technology.

In fact, AI is making even sophisticated data collection and analysis feasible for firms of all sizes. Not only does AI help organizations find information on relevant companies more quickly, but it also can enable the use of certain advanced deal sourcing tactics such as custom lead scoring. Thanks to AI and technological innovations, the entire M&A process is far faster than it was before, from market mapping and deal sourcing to making first contact and conducting due diligence.

The Impact of Technology on M&A Recruitment Practices

Of course, dealmaking processes aren't the only ones that have improved thanks to tech in M&A. Even M&A recruitment is easier than ever before. Finding suitable candidates has changed to include more up-to-date and data-driven tactics. Online databases, assessments, and even algorithm-driven recruitment processes have all turned the M&A recruitment industry on its head.

From finding candidates to keeping existing employees, tech and AI have helped Human Resources and Talent Acquisition be more productive and intake far more applicants than previously possible. AI can not only screen applicants far faster than humans, but organizations can also utilize AI chatbots and other technology to provide personalized experiences for candidates throughout the M&A recruitment process.

The Role of Acquisition Business Consultants in a Tech-Driven World

For those in their M&A careers who do not want to pursue the in-house dealmaking path, becoming an acquisition business consultant is a possibility. Rather than source deals directly, indirectly, or with the help of AI deal sourcing software for their firm to purchase, an acquisition business consultant helps both the buy-side and the sell-side of the transaction complete the deal more smoothly.

Like in other areas of the M&A industry, technology has helped consultants streamline their processes, find new deals to consult on, and improve their offerings to clients. With AI-powered software, it can be much easier for acquisition business consultants to fully map markets, provide better counsel, present more accurate trend analyses, and add value to deals.

Tech Innovations at Boutique M&A Consulting Firms

With technology, candidates in the M&A recruitment process can make themselves more attractive to potential employers. Boutique M&A consulting firms can do the same to secure more deals. Technology has greatly streamlined many dealmaking processes — the hours it used to take to research and manually collect data are a thing of the past. Software such as platforms with private company databases have made it far easier for even smaller firms to compete with larger organizations.

Examples of Tech-Savvy Boutique M&A Consulting Firms

La Piana

Founded in 1998 and based in Moorpark, CA, La Piana is a boutique M&A consulting firm that essentially built the M&A market for charities and non-profit organizations (NPOs). With fewer than 30 employees, the firm provides consulting services to service sector organizations and helps them with key business strategies, including organizational development, strategic business planning, mergers, and partnerships.

Sica | Fletcher

The boutique firm Sica | Fletcher is one of the most well-known firms within the insurance industry, and has even been recognized by S&P Global as the leader 7 years in a row. Founded a decade ago and based in Amityville, NY, the firm's fewer than 20 employees have secured $17.5 billion in closed deals since inception.

Zaoui & Co

Not all boutique firms are the same, and Zaoui & Co. is a prime example of thinking outside the box. One of the founders, Michael Zaoui, has even publicly said, "The question is not 'can you grow,' it’s 'do you want to?'" The London, UK-based firm has been in business for 11 years and, true to its founder's thinking, has just nine employees at the time of writing.

Exploring Top Mergers and Acquisitions Consulting Firms

Of course, firms and organizations of all sizes are using technology to improve their operations, and the top mergers and acquisitions consulting firms often have more tech at their disposal. However, technology — and now, AI — is separating the good organizations from the great ones. Even "The Big Four" accounting firms rely on AI and technology to recognize trends and publish content that informs the rest of the M&A industry.

The Top 10 Mergers & Acquisitions Consulting Firms

While landing a career at one of the top mergers & acquisitions consulting firms can be incredibly difficult, it's nevertheless important to know who’s leading the industry. Our list was determined by evaluating a combination of several statistics, including revenue, assets under management, renown, total number of employees, and tenure. Firms are listed alphabetically:


Accenture was founded in 1989 and has its headquarters in Dublin, Ireland. With around 742,000 employees, the company focuses on IT services and management consulting. In 2023, Accenture generated a revenue of about $64 billion.


BlackRock, established in 1988, is based in New York City and employs approximately 19,800 people. As a financial services and investment management corporation, BlackRock focuses on providing financial planning and investment solutions and generated $17.86 billion in revenue in 2023. Perhaps what they are most well-known for, however, is having the most assets under management (AUM) in the world, totaling $9.1 trillion.

Bain & Company

The Boston-based firm, Bain & Company, was founded in 1973, and now has about 19,000 employees. This top mergers and acquisitions consulting firm specializes in management consulting and helps organizations improve performance across several key corporate functions, including IT, marketing, and operations. As of 2023, the firm had $185 billion in AUM and generated $5.8 billion in revenue.


One of "The Big Four" accounting firms, Deloitte was founded nearly 180 years ago in 1845 and is now headquartered in London, UK. It boasts a workforce of over 457,000 professionals and provides audit, consulting, financial advisory, risk advisory, tax, and legal services. In 2023, they reported revenues of $64.9 billion.

EY (Ernst & Young)

Another of "The Big Four" accounting firms, EY (also known as Ernst & Young), began in 1989 through a merger, although its origins can be traced back to the 19th century. Its headquarters are located in London, UK, and it has nearly 400,000 employees operating around the world. The firm offers assurance, consulting, strategy and transactions, and tax services to organizations in all industries, and generated $49.4 billion in revenue in 2023.

Goldman Sachs

Goldman Sachs is the oldest firm on our list and was founded in 1869. It's now headquartered in New York, NY, and employs roughly 45,300 staff members. With $2.8 trillion in total AUM and reported revenues of $46.3 billion in 2023, the firm focuses on investment banking, securities, and investment management.

JP Morgan

Another top mergers and acquisitions consulting firm formed through M&A, JP Morgan, was founded in 1871 and is now part of the JP Morgan Chase & Co. corporation. Its 26,300 employees form about a tenth of the larger corporation's total employees, and this division focuses on investment and private banking, as well as asset management. However, even with its smaller size, JP Morgan has $3.4 trillion in AUM and generated $49.6 billion in revenue in 2023.


Another of "The Big Four" accounting firms, KPMG was established in 1987 and has its headquarters in London, UK. The firm employs approximately 273,000 people worldwide and offers accounting services, including audit, tax, and advisory. In 2023, the firm generated $36.5 billion in revenue.

Morgan Stanley

Morgan Stanley was founded in 1935 and is one of many M&A advisory firms headquartered in New York City. The company has around 80,000 employees and focuses on investment banking, wealth management, and investment management. As of 2023, the firm had $1.46 trillion in AUM and reported $54.1 billion in revenue.

PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC)

PwC, short for PricewaterhouseCoopers, rounds out "The Big Four" accounting firms and was formed in 1998 by a merger. The firm has headquarters in London, UK, employs over 364,000 people, and reported revenues of $53.1 billion in 2023. PwC offers accounting services in audit and assurance, consulting, and tax, as well as professional services to organizations worldwide.

Learn More

Regardless of where you are in your M&A career path and whether you work (or want to work) at a small or large firm, technology has the opportunity to launch your career and make you even more successful. However, as technology keeps evolving, it's particularly important to keep abreast of those changes and develop your competitive edge — both for your firm and for yourself.

To learn more about the tools today’s top firms rely on to find and win more deals, read this guide: Inside the Modern Dealmaker’s Tech Stack.