I decided to interview one of my direct supervisors at my private equity firm to learn more about what kept him driven and guided him along this path. To give a brief background, he started out his career in China working in operations management with a beverage company. He then went on to start a construction company but after about 10 years in the business grew tired of the cyclical sales and felt that he needed to move on and do something different. That was when he started a private equity search fund to look for interesting businesses to acquire and grow over the long term. We shared common ground over the interest we had in Asian culture and how he wanted to explore his options when he was in college. One of the primary pieces of advice he left me with was that I should explore my options early on and not be afraid to fail. “If you fail early on, you tend to have richer experiences. There’s still enough pressure to encourage you to do well whilst taking substantial risks.” He also talked about the difficulties of doing business in a developing nation which had just opened up its economy and how the legislation and culture affected business performance. I learned about some of the benefits and disadvantages of working in private equity and how it’s about valuing people who have operating experience and understand challenges. This reminds of the persistence every business student needs to land the right opportunities through persistence and sincerity. I definitely came out of this interview more enlightened than I was before.
- Blog 5: Financial Acquisition Model
- Informational Interview: Opportunities