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Houlihan Lokey
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Vault’s Verdict

Houlihan Lokey is ideally looking for positive, hardworking self-starters with strong technical skills. The firm’s internship program provides students with a lot of hands-on live deal experience, access to senior bankers, and a good look at what a full-time position is like. For its full-time junior bankers, Houlihan Lokey provides numerous growth opportunities, including top-notch formal training, significant deal experience on very interesting and complex deals, and access to world-class senior bankers who are willing to teach and guide juniors.

Although hours can be long and unpredictable due to the client-service nature of the business, the firm is very good at encouraging time off and allows you to stay offline while on vacation. In addition, the firm is reasonably flexible when it comes to remote-work arrangements. Salaries and bonuses are competitive, and perks and benefits are generous. Insiders especially appreciate the 401(K) policy, the unlimited vacation policy, meal stipends, free (healthy) snacks in the office, and various wellness offerings such as free counseling, meditation, and yoga.

Houlihan Lokey has been making a strong effort to recruit a more diverse staff (especially more women and minorities) but is currently not very diverse, and so still needs to improve in this area. As for the firm’s business outlook, Houlihan Lokey’s strong leadership team has positioned the firm well to continue to grow and increase market share. The firm’s balanced business model allows Houlihan Lokey to succeed in various economic environments.


Hiring Process

“We decide quickly and help candidates evaluate the opportunity. We want the right people, and fit is the most important to get right. The rest we can (and will) teach. We want self-starters with a good attitude and work ethic. Attention to detail is important, as is a fundament financial acumen.”

“We’re seeking a candidate that displays strong work ethic, wants to be in our target market, knows the firm well, and can respond under pressure.”

Interview Questions

“We give several categories of interviews: (i) technical, (ii) fit, (iii) case, and (iv) critical thinking. We include typical accounting and valuation questions plus some capital structure and bond math questions.”

“We use typical and bespoke interview questions that vary year to year.”

Intern Experience

“Friendly team and great exposure/experience. Hours were long, but not necessarily longer than at any other bank.”

“Great experience working on live deals as opposed to training tasks.”

“The internship experience provided a very realistic taste of what the full-time role would be like. It provided live deal experience and structured events to meet and integrate with the team.”

“Real deal experience and access to senior team members. Prepared me well in terms of understanding what to expect on the job as a full-time associate.”

Career Development

“HL Restructuring Group has a great culture, top quality team, highly sophisticated clients, non-stop deal flow, very interesting and complex deals, and world-class managing directors. It’s a true apprenticeship model with unparalleled career development. Restructuring analysts who leave HL go to the top-tier buy-side funds, spanning from credit/distress to PE and even VC (restructuring and VC are opposites, but the skills development in restructuring is so intense and advanced that it applies to all areas of finance). For those who stay, we have great retention and internal career development. The vast majority of our MDs started as analysts or associates, and the average tenure is very long. We develop from within and promote from within. We prioritize working with our team as we bring them up through the ranks and develop them into skilled bankers.”

“If you are good and the firm likes you, they will bend over backwards to keep you and help you develop in whatever role possible. Our in-house financial training head is top-notch.”

“Strong culture of personal development and collaboration as opposed to competition and being pushed out. There is less push for junior staff to meet clients and other firms’ deal teams, so it can be harder to develop relationships across the table.”

“Promotion period is a bit longer than most, but you get tasked with significantly more responsibility from day one than peers at other investment banks. If you show the ability to perform, you will get excellent career development opportunities.”

Quality of Life

“We are all team players and happy to cover for each other during vacations or personal life obligations. Last month, about 30 percent of our analysts in LA Restructuring worked remotely (from out of town) for two weeks. We just had one associate out last month for paternity leave and another went overseas for two weeks for a wedding. This is all fine (and even encouraged). We are able to cover for each other and manage our clients. We work remotely on Fridays, too. We still work hard, and need to be available for clients, but we manage our workload as a team and minimize frivolous work and wheel-spinning so that quality of life is good for our professionals (even if it means officers have to absorb some of the work production).”

“Taking time off is encouraged, but when it is time to actually take that time off, it can sometimes be challenging. However, proper communication does help avoid difficulties or confusion here, and at the end of the day, I don't expect it to be much different elsewhere.”

“Team is very good at encouraging vacations and staying offline while on vacation. Team also takes a personal interest in your social life.”

“The firm is reasonably flexible with WFH arrangements.”

Salary and Benefits

“Top of market pay and the vast majority is cash (vs. stock). 401(k) has an after-tax contribution option that allows us to max out up to about $66,000 per year. Unlimited/untracked vacation. Free lunch and dinner with above market caps ($40/dinner if local, uncapped if traveling). Tons of office snacks. No expense limit when taking out clients. Great travel policy. Casual dress every day. Great PPO health insurance. Parking is covered by the firm. Very happy with the perks and benefits.”

“Not much to write home about, aside from salary and bonus, which are competitive but should be a bit higher based on who we view as our peers. Company events in our local office are fun.”

“High salaries but no sabbatical or extended time off in certain groups.”

“Base salary/total comp is below peers. Stock-based comp is significant for VP and above and vests over too many years.”

Wellness Efforts

“HL has everything. Counseling, meditation, yoga, healthy office snacks, web series, Zoom offerings etc. There is a Healthy Living Committee in each office, a budget for each office, and global coordination of the committees. Our office has done walks, yoga, massages, meditation, team sports, nutritionist talks, snack fairs, etc. The wellness effort is respected and prioritized at the highest levels of the firm and all the way down to analysts.”

“There are a few of these programs which are vaguely encouraged, but taking time off to utilize them is another story.”

“We have an in-house wellness team to promote fitness and staying active.”

“The firm has been focusing on improving the wellness initiatives.”

Diversity and ESG Initiatives

“We lack diversity currently but are trying to hire a more diverse team.”

“Our efforts have been extremely high, but I’m not that sure it has translated to the yield we want yet.”

“The firm has every type of person here. We don't judge on gender/race/LGBTQ+/disability etc. It’s a meritocracy and all are welcome! We do make an added effort in recruiting to attract women and minorities. We have more men than women, but that's more a function of the applicant pool, and we have women at all levels in my group and across the firm.”

“We have a lot of charitable opportunities, and the firm offers many generous matching and ‘give-a-day’ programs that can be coupled with significant donations.”

Business Outlook

“I think leadership has done a very effective job of continuing to grow the business and obtain market share, while staying true to our strategy and positioning the business for continued success.”

“We are very busy and expect it to stay that way. Our leadership is exceptional and has been here a long time. We went public in 2015 at $23/share and we’re now at $106/share (up more than 450 percent Our revenue has gone up from $700 million to $1.8 billion since we went public (up more than 250 percent). None of our competitors has kept up with us. We outperform our peers in every way and expect that to continue.”

“The firm has a balanced business model which supports growth in many different business environments.”

Houlihan Lokey

10250 Constellation Blvd., 5th floor
Los Angeles, CA 90067
Phone: (310) 553-8871

Firm Stats

Employer Type: Public
Stock Symbol: HLI
Stock Exchange: NYSE
CEO: Scott Adelson
2023 Employees (All Locations): 2,600

Major Office Locations

Los Angeles, CA, US
Atlanta, GA, US
Baltimore, MD, US
Chicago, IL, US
Boston, MA, US
Charlotte, NC, US
Minneapolis, US
New York, NY, US
Dallas, TX, US
Houston, TX, US
Miami, FL, US
San Francisco, CA, US
Washington, D.C., US
Antwerp, Belgium
London, UK
Paris, FR
Frankfurt, DE
Amsterdam, NL
Dubai, AE
Madrid, EW
Milan, IT
Beijing, CN
Hong Kong, CN
Singapore, SG
Sydney, AU
Tokyo, JP
Manchester, UK
Munich, Germany
Stockholm, Sweden
São Paulo, Brazil
Tel Aviv, Israel
Zurich, Switzerland
Fukuoka, Japan
Mumbai, India
Gurugram, India
Nagoya, Japan
Shanghai, China