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PESA High Performer Spotlight: Sanjiv Shah, Managing Director, Investment Banking, Simmons & Company International

What influenced your decision to enter the oil and gas industry?

Sanjiv Shah, Managing Director, Investment Banking, Simmons & Company International

Sanjiv Shah, Managing Director, Investment Banking, Simmons & Company International

My wife was the biggest influence as she dragged me to Houston from Zurich!  My background was in corporate finance and banking, so investment banking for the oil and gas industry was a natural career decision.      

What was your impression of the industry beforehand and how has it evolved?

I started with Simmons & Company International in early 2008.  I perceived the oil and gas industry as simple and driven purely by commodity prices.  After working in the industry for the past nine years, I’ve come to appreciate the complexities of each subsector and various secular themes that overlay the commodity price cyclicality. 

What have you found to be the most surprising about the industry?

The entrepreneurial spirit of the industry never ceases to amaze me.  During my career, I’ve come to know several individuals who have started off with an idea and turned it into a profitable multi-million dollar enterprise in a short period of time, and then oftentimes moved onto the next idea!

What do you find most challenging and most rewarding about the industry or your work?

The volatility of oil and gas markets can create extreme challenges in M&A and capital markets deals, but it certainly also keeps things interesting.  The most rewarding aspect of my job is closing a deal that represents a positive life-changing event for a client, many of whom started from humble beginnings.    

Where do you hope to see the industry develop over the next 5 years?

Continued development of innovative technology and automation to improve efficiency and competitiveness in a lower commodity price environment.  There is ample scope for additional technology to be adopted by the oil and gas industry as the workforce demographics continue to trend to the next generation.  

What role do you believe you will play in the industry’s future?

Hopefully continuing to help facilitate industry consolidation through M&A and capitalization through IPOs and other capital markets transactions. 

How has your involvement in PESA supported your career goals?

PESA has provided a unique networking and learning opportunity.  This industry is fundamentally people-oriented and so relationships matter.  Through PESA, I have broadened my industry network to include long-lasting relationships with people that I would otherwise have had no reason or opportunity to interact with, which has enriched my knowledge of the industry. 

Tell us about some of the people you’ve met while working in the industry and how they’ve impacted your thinking.

In my job as an investment banker, I have the opportunity to interact with company executives, founder/entrepreneurs and private equity investors.  Everyone is different and has different opinions on value, risk tolerance and outlook.  Hearing these different perspectives over time have helped me understand how different constituents may evaluate the same opportunity differently.  This is why we have buyers and sellers, who can hopefully both be made happy in a win-win deal. 

What are you most excited about for your career, your company and your industry?

I’m excited about the prospects for M&A and capital markets activity during the next couple of years as the oil and gas industry hopefully continues to recover from the recent downturn.  The outlook for both M&A activity and IPOs for oil and gas equipment and services subsectors during 2017 and 2018 is particularly exciting. 

What would you tell someone who is thinking about entering the oil and gas industry?

Expect the unexpected!  This industry can obviously be cyclical, so try to study the secular themes, identify growth subsectors and most importantly align with the right people. 

What do you wish other people knew about oil and gas?

That it is among the most diverse, complex, dynamic and relationship-driven industries to work in, and also among the most intertwined with almost every other industry from a macro perspective.  

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