Carl Lundberg is a Partner at Gerald Edelman (GE) and Gerald Edelman Deal Advisory. Carl specialises in corporate finance and leads GE’s dedicated team. After joining GE to complete his training contact, Carl moved to a ‘Big 4’ firm, before returning to GE and working his way up to become a partner.
Learn more about Carl’s career journey and his experience at GE.
Why did you choose to train at GE?
I chose GE because I wanted to train at a firm that was large enough to give me a variety of experience but not so large that my work would be limited. GE gave me the opportunity to work on site at client premises, learning from the knowledge and experience of my peers, as well as learning from business people.
My training experience was something I will never forget; I had such a good time with my colleagues in the audit department and built strong friendships. Training in the audit department was something that really helped me understand the process and learn more about the general operation of a business, enabling me to become a more rounded accountant and advisor.
When and why did you decide to specialise in corporate finance?
I’ve always been an analytical thinker and I really enjoy problem solving. Whilst those attributes are useful when working in audit, they generate better value for clients when applied in an advisory capacity.
I first noticed this during my time away from GE, and it is what motivated me to come back. Upon my return to the firm I began working with Richard Kleiner (CEO) and helped to build up, what I then called, the ‘Everything Else’ department - I focused on handling all special projects that were advisory-based and didn’t fall into the remit of the firm’s compliance teams. As my growing team and I developed, we became more focused on the corporate finance offering, and we later added forensic accounting and expert witness work to our range of services.
I enjoyed my time in audit and in fact I’m still involved as the Responsible Individual for the audit of some of my clients’ businesses, but corporate finance is where I can truly applying my talent in helping my clients achieve their objectives.
What made you decide to switch to a larger firm?
I knew I wanted to stay in practice and that ultimately, I wanted to be a partner in a mid-tier firm (very specific, I know!), so when I qualified, I had a decision to make about whether to stay put or to go out and experience working for another business. At that point in my career, I chose to pursue a role in a much larger firm to diversify my experience.
What were the key lessons you learned from working at a larger firm?
I gained a lot of new technical knowledge during my time in the Big 4 firm and also got my first real advisory experience. The importance of networking, not just with external parties, but also with those within the business, became much clearer to me during this time. I think the knowledge I gained has enabled me to contribute to the growth of GE since my return and has helped to shape me, both as a chartered accountant and as a partner.
What made you decide to come back to GE?
I knew that my goal was to become a partner in a mid-tier firm and so GE was the natural choice; I knew the people, the partners, the systems and processes and it was clear that the company was growing and evolving. I could see myself making a real impact at GE and helping to drive that positive trajectory.
What’s your biggest achievement at GE?
I feel like I’ve achieved so much at GE; I trained here and passed all my exams first time, I’ve grown my corporate finance team from just myself in the basement at our old office to where we are today, I’ve established the forensic and expert witness team, and I’ve become a partner. Hopefully the list will continue to grow as my career continues.
All of these achievements would not have been possible without the support from my partners and the rest of the GE family.
What are your aspirations for the future?
There has been a lot of uncertainty in the UK in recent years and as I write this (from home), the Coronavirus situation is hitting the UK economy hard. However, we know we have a solid client base and we will be here to help our clients get through this period and back on the path to growth.
What advice would you give to new trainees?
Work hard, be assertive but know your limits and weaknesses and try to build on those areas. Never be afraid to ask a question, there is no such thing as a stupid question! You’re in a unique position to learn about business and finance from some very experienced people so absorb what you can from the seniors, managers, partners and clients and enjoy yourself.
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