Inspired by the recent return of some all-time great WSO members, we will begin featuring a series of posts from forum favorite 'superusers'. This "Then and Now" series will let people share a bit of their story through a handful of questions that touch on their career progression and how this site has supported that.
When did you first join WSO?
Why did you join?
I founded the community and thought it would be a fun place for younger investment bankers and prospective investment bankers to discuss careers and shoot the shit.
Where were you in your career then?
In 2006 I was working in private equity at Tailwind Capital in New York. I had been fired the previous year from a PE fund in Boston called Heritage Partners and was still a bit rattled but was lucky enough to land on my feet after ~4 months of being unemployed.
By the time the 2008 financial crisis rolled around, I was already in business school and so focused on WSO that it luckily didn't impact me directly ...it was like I was insulated in 2 bubbles (Wharton + not recruiting for finance anymore) that made it more like a movie than real life...I have to say 2020 feels eerily similar (I'm here working from home which hasn't changed anything for me except that now I have 3 screaming kids at home all day instead of part of the day).
Where are you in your career now?
Since getting my MBA from Wharton in 2010, it's been full time WSO for almost a decade! We have some exciting plans for the back half of this year and some major investments going on for the back end that should put us in great shape for 2021 and beyond.
What can you share about your personal or family life?
I had been single while in Boston but had a girlfriend soon after moving back to New York in 2005... but the idea of a wife and kids seemed super far off. I ended up working at Tailwind for almost 4 years before going for my MBA. I knew by the time I was accepted that I'd be using the 2 year "break" to try and make WSO a real business that could support me.
I was single again midway through my time at Wharton and then all through graduation + my time down in Buenos Aires (where I met @AndyLouis at a bar through mutual friends) which was a blast - I ended up staying down in BA for almost a full year.
I moved back to Boston in 2011 and soon after I met my future wife...fast forward to 2020 I'm living out in northern California (South Bay) with her + 3 kids (Every (4), Ronan (2) and Noelle (1)). I feel super blessed to have such an incredible family (both immediate and extended) and we're trying to look at the positives of this health and economic crisis knowing we are much luckier than most.
Looking back on your career, is there anything that you thought you knew starting out which turned out to be wrong?
Yes. I assumed that if you put your head down and worked hard, everything would take care of itself and I didn't fully appreciate the importance of building strong connections (both internally and externally at related firms).
While the long hours and hard work happened naturally in banking, I struggled at my first job in private equity. When things went south with the fund, I was fired and dumbstruck. In retrospect, I don't think I could have prevented that from happening, but if I had had a stronger ally within the firm, I might have been given the inside scoop and understood more what was going on...my network is also what saved my career and got me into Tailwind.
Were there any opportunities that presented themselves along the way that you didn't take? With the benefit of hindsight, do you wish you had taken one of them?
I feel like I have run WSO very conservatively and I often second guess whether I should have been more aggressive (maybe working in restructuring made me allergic to debt?). With the benefit of hindsight, nothing dramatically stands out except I should have invested more in design (and a mobile app!) earlier.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
I think I'd just like to say another thank you to all of the great members that give so much of their time to help others on WSO (many don't get anything in return except for silver bananas). It's super motivating when I hear about success stories and I get thank yous from old members that used the platform to learn more and I know this place wouldn't be anywhere near as useful without the dedication of our top members...so thank you again.