February 15, 2018
We repeatedly hear that our people are our greatest asset, and we couldn’t agree more. Let us introduce you to another one of our talented team members, Wassim Sawaya.
Rule of thirds
Wassim and his wife are prolific travelers. On their
journeys, he loves to take photographs of landscapes and people in the places he visits. “I’m drawn to photography because it’s a microcosm of life. In photography, there is the rule of thirds where an image is divided into two horizontal and two vertical lines to help you focus the main element on the intersection. I’m constantly doing this in my life, whether it’s with my wife to keep our family in perspective, or with my work to keep my clients in focus.”
The ability to refocus
Growing up in Lebanon, Wassim lived in the countryside and studied Arabic, French and English. “Something I love about the Lebanese people is their ability to adapt. It is a country that has been fraught with turmoil. But the people always find a way to rebuild, work with what they have, and thrive. I think that adaptability has served me well throughout my life and I’m grateful to have such a strength to pull from.”
Adjusting the aperture
After Wassim got married in 2015, he and his wife Ghada longed
for a new adventure. They decided to leave Lebanon and transferred to PwC’s office in Atlanta, Georgia, where the two had friends nearby. “My wife got her MBA in Atlanta so she already knew the city well, which was quite helpful. PwC supported me every step of the way and helped me pave an ambitious path to director-level Deals work. The hardest part was figuring out things like social security numbers, which is something we don’t have in Lebanon.”
Bringing it into perspective
Working in financial due diligence, Wassim likens his role to that of a mechanic inspecting a used car before purchase. It requires a close inspection internally and externally to determine how much it’s worth and whether the vehicle is in good working condition.
For Deals, Wassim works closely with clients to ensure that a target company is as appealing as it seems. He looks at the financials – the quality and sustainability of earnings, accruals, reserves, expenses, indebtedness, etc. – to provide a clear and objective picture of the company and any red flags that must be considered or factored into negotiations.
“I have a deep understanding of finance and M&A, but my main role is to be there for my clients – the individuals doing the deals. To be a trusted advisor, it’s vital to listen to your clients to truly understand what they need. It’s also important to know your client’s values and style of working and provide that preferred interaction every time – that helps establish trust and connection so we can do great things together.”