How would you describe your role and organization?
I am a Partner with a Private Equity firm based in New York City (although my office is in San Francisco). My role is the overall management of a $175 million fund geared toward investing in small, middle market businesses. I am responsible for overall leadership of the fund, including sourcing transactions, overseeing the execution of investing in a variety of businesses, leading the strategic initiatives with the company post close and overall coaching and management of my team of investment professionals.
How would the skills and competencies gained through a liberal arts education be beneficial in the type of work you do?
I went to a liberal arts college and majored in writing. I've found that my ability to think through problems/opportunities from a variety of angles, work collaboratively with others, communicate both verbally and in writing, and conceptualize ways to "tell a story" (i.e. describe how a business works and why we should invest) are all skills that I developed via a liberal education. The nuts and bolts of finance can be learned (and in fact I went through a thorough training program early in my career) but the ability to conceptualize outcomes and "think outside the box" are the key skills to success based on my experience.
What can a student expect to experience by job shadowing you?
Before Private Equity, I was an investment banker. I can provide an in-depth look at the world of finance, what makes it tick, and how to deploy a liberal education to maximize your outcome. Last year, I spent a day with my shadowee giving him a good sense of how to analyze, finance and close the acquisition of a business.
I have also been an entrepreneur for a large chunk of my career. Over the course of 20 years, I built several businesses and can provide my perspective on what makes a business successful, traits of the entrepreneur, transforming an idea into a business, and the oftentimes painful (yet incredibly fulfilling) process of being an entrepreneur.