What did you do before coming to HBS?
I was lucky enough to have literally stumbled upon my HBS job after spending the prior part of my career working exclusively in finance roles. Before HBS, I worked in investment banking, asset management and had been the CFO of a private equity-backed company. I also acquired a portfolio of multi-family residential properties, which I continue to own today. When I first read the job description of my current HBS role, my thought was simply, “that sounds like fun” – nearly ten years later that remains the case!
Tell us about your role coaching students and alumni.
I spend a large part of my time in one-to-one coaching appointments. While the conversations often revolve around the finance and real estate industries, I’m happy to speak with any student or alumnus about anything. Conversations typically start with my asking, “what’s up?” and we roll from there. Work and life are so closely intertwined that oftentimes we’ll start talking about something career-related and end up discussing personal circumstances, and then bounce back and forth between the two.
What have you learned from coaching thousands of students and alumni?
Probably the biggest lesson is to trust your gut. There are so many variables involved in career decisions (industry, function, location, money, family, work/life balance, etc.) that it is easy to try to think through THE answer. But if you listen to your instincts and trust your gut as much, if not more, than your mind, then you are much more likely to make the decision that will make you the happiest.
Tell us a fun fact.
I love Wikipedia. Like a coaching appointment, you can start off curious about X and end up learning about a distant Y. For example, I just typed in “Harvard Business School” and four inquisitive site clicks later I was reading about “Geoffroy's spider monkey.”