Meet our faculty member at IMAA, Mr. David Olsson. With 17 years of experience in finance and mergers and acquisitions (M&A), he currently serves as the Head of M&A at Navima. His areas of expertise include the end-to-end M&A process, digitalization, and synergy forecasting.
David started his career in Finance and quickly moved into roles that involved him in both pre and post-deal projects, spanning private equity and corporate sectors. His experience in cross-border transactions led him to a consultancy role in M&A before he co-founded Navima, a digital platform aimed at modernizing the M&A process.
At the Institute for Mergers, Acquisitions and Alliances (IMAA), David is responsible for teaching the Certified Post-Merger Integration (CPMI) certification course, a comprehensive program that delves deep into the complexities of integration after an M&A deal is sealed. Here, he emphasizes the value of strategic planning and analytical thinking to emerging professionals in the field.
David Olsson: The Hallmarks of Successful M&As
When it comes to identifying the elements that distinguish a successful M&A transaction from an unsuccessful one, David places a significant emphasis on people and their alignment with the objectives of the deal. He says, “I believe that the key to a successful transaction is in getting the people involved completely aligned on the deal purpose, right from the start. Even the best plans will not be followed if those that are leading change are not fully engaged on what the purpose of the deal is and how that translates into the specific post deal integration objectives.”
David adds that the role of senior management is crucial in this context. “Senior management plays a huge part in this by communicating these and actively leading the deal, not just to Day 1 but by taking accountability for the value being realized post deal.”
David Olsson: Trends and Shifts in M&A
David noted that the M&A landscape is undergoing substantial change currently undergoing significant shifts, particularly in terms of efficiency and resource allocation. “M&A in the past was hit and miss in terms of quality and so many merged entitles failed in many fundamental ways. I believe that a key shift will be in the requirement for M&A teams to do better, with less time and fewer resources. Being only 60% effective will no longer be ok “ he warns. David underscores that in this changing landscape, teams are increasingly looking towards tools, technology, and education to achieve better results.
Technology has been a significant game-changer in M&A. “The technology that people use in their day-to-day lives has improved to such an extent that M&A teams are actively looking to digital tools to allow them to work faster, better, more securely, and more collaboratively than ever. A combination of people, process and tech can allow deal makers to answer some quite fundamental questions about the predicted success of a deal before you’ve really got into expensive due diligence. It’s not ten years away either”, says David.
He cites Navima as an example, stating that advanced tools for efficient and secure work are already available.
David Olsson: From Teaching and Practicing M&A to Improve Expertise
David acknowledges that teaching has enriched his understanding of M&A. “There is saying that ‘if you want to truly understand something, teach it’ I learn every time I work with the CPMI students and it’s an absolute joy.”
David outlines his primary focus when educating future M&A professionals. “Respecting the amount of good old fashioned, collaborative, analytical thinking pre-deal is my biggest teaching point. You must join up the dots from origination to deal rationale and post-merger integration (PMI) if a deal is to be run efficiently and successfully and that takes time, energy, the right process, people and technology to support. If you don’t do this, then you are just hoping.”
For David, teaching is not just a one-way dissemination of knowledge but a symbiotic relationship that enhances both his expertise and that of his students. His emphasis on early-stage planning and integration serves as a cornerstone in shaping the next generation of M&A professionals.
David Olsson: Advice for Aspiring M&A Practitioners
For those keen on a career in M&A, David advises gaining a diverse range of experience within the field. “Try and get some experience in the various aspects of the deal process and deal sizes, you may find that you prefer one from the other” he suggests. “Then get some quality education and go for it. The most useful skills will be the ability to see the big picture, operate with gravitas, and never take your eye off the ball.”
David’s experience and insights provide invaluable guidance for anyone interested in the field of M&A. With years of practical experience and a focus on lifelong learning, he not only leads in the industry but also educates the next generation of leading M&A practitioners at the Institute for Mergers, Acquisitions, and Alliances (IMAA). His emphasis on strategic planning, effective teamwork, and the role of technology reflects the real-world complexities of modern M&A. Both as a practitioner and a teacher, David’s contributions serve as a solid resource for professionals aiming to navigate the ever-changing landscape of mergers and acquisitions.
To learn more about Mr. David Olsson and his work, you can follow his professional journey through his LinkedIn profile or join him in our Certified Post Merger Integration Expert (CPMI) program onsite or virtual live, for firsthand learning.