Yesterday, David Parker, a General Partner at Ampersand Capital (a private equity group that focuses on the healthcare industry), spoke to us on campus at an event hosted by the Finance Club and the Healthcare Club.
I always love these speaker events – they’re great for networking, of course. But, to me the real benefit is the opportunity to learn firsthand from somebody in the field – somebody who’s out doing what they love. School itself can be so consuming and these events help to move the focus from “what’s due next Tuesday” to “what do I want to do with my life?”.
While Mr. Parker covered a number of topics – from private equity trends to a case study of one of Ampersand’s recent investments – there were two things that really stood out to me from his talk.
First, Mr. Parker was clearly passionate about the work he does at Ampersand. The work itself clearly challenges him and is always evolving – in fact, he’s even served as the CFO for a number of their portfolio companies. Moreover, it helps to bring better healthcare solutions to market, which is exciting and powerful. It served as a reminder to me that at its best, work is both individually challenging and meaningful on a larger scale.
My other key takeaway from Mr. Parker was simple – no matter the field, strong people and relationship building skills are critical for success. He spoke of building relationships based on trust with entrepreneurs, selling the firm’s skills to investors and working closely with co-investors. It was a great reminder that in any field it’s not just about your excel skills (though those are important, too!), but also how you interact with those around you.
Ultimately, Mr. Parker’s talk this week was a good reason to get out from the bubble that is an MBA. It is sometimes a lot easier to think about class than what’s next – or, for that matter, what’s five years from now – but that’s where the really exciting stuff lies.
Dave – thanks for coming! We hope to see you again on campus soon.
Erin is a second year, full-time MBA student. She spent the summer as an intern at Active Network and has a history degree from Harvard University.