Our ‘A Day in the Life’ series highlights alumni in various fields and positions, offering a glimpse of what life after graduation is like. This post comes to us from M&T alum Dave, currently working at Jefferies in California.
Please briefly describe what industry you’re in and what your particular position entails.
I co-run the Internet and Digital Media group at Jefferies, one of the largest and fastest growing investment banks in the USA. We were less than $200 million in market capitalization when I joined 20+ years ago and now we are a Fortune 500 company with a market capitalization in excess of $10 billion. I help internet companies raise capital and complete mergers and acquisitions.
What time did you get up this morning before work?
5:30 am PT
What time did you start working, and what time were you done for the day?
7 am PT and done 11 pm PT (with breaks for meals and family time from 6 pm – 8 pm PT)
What were some of the projects you worked on today?
- Pitched a prospective client on their future IPO
- Discussed the LBO of a company with a Board member
- Handled a potential inbound inquiry into a company from a large potential strategic buyer
- Attended a meeting where I sit on the Board and discussed pricing strategies with the CEO
- Attended an evening demo day where I evaluated various startups for potential personal investment
Who specifically did you interact with today, besides coworkers (clients, interns, researchers, executives, founders, etc.)?
Prospective clients (CEO and CFO), board members, managers of a Silicon Valley incubator, numerous founders.
Are you currently traveling or about to travel for work?
Yes I am frequently traveling and spend time not only in the USA but also in Europe and Asia. I have over 5 million lifetime miles across all of the major airlines, a fact I am NOT proud of!
What was your favorite part of the work day?
The end of the day when I had dinner with my wife and two sons and gave them a bath and put them to bed (since I’m in town!)
What are some of the challenges within your position that you particularly enjoy?
- Always lots of interesting questions facing companies that don’t have simple answers:
- When should we sell? Before or after this next round of financing?
- How do I maximize my valuation? Should I maximize my valuation?
- How do I manage my Board and investors in both really bad times but also really good times?
- How should we react to competitive pressures particularly if it requires a change in strategy?
- What other markets should I think about entering that could affect buyer/investor interest in my company?
How did you end up in your current position or school?
- Decided I liked working in a dynamic and fast paced environment where I could learn from many senior people and gain exposure to CEOs and CFOs
- Jefferies was that unique investment bank where I could be part of a “start-up” entrepreneurial culture and grow with the firm as it became a major global player
How did M&T help prepare you for where you are today?
Gave me the ability to see the world through two lenses: business and engineering. As the world becomes more and more disrupted by technology, these two lenses have become invaluable in my career. It has helped me understand the competitive advantages of a technology while recognizing that for anything to be truly sustainable it needs to have sound business fundamentals.
What advice do you have for those who might be interested in pursuing a similar path?
- Don’t follow the herd
- Follow your passion and focus on an emerging industry sector that will be a rocket ship
- Become a black belt in an industry so you develop unique insight that companies will find valuable
- Make sure you master the fundamentals of business analysis; they are a prerequisite in this world
Dave is currently Managing Director, Co-Head of Internet and Digital Media Investment Banking at Jefferies in San Francisco, California. He graduated from Penn and M&T in 1993 with a Bachelor of Science in Systems Science Engineering from Penn Engineering and a Bachelor of Science in Economics from the Wharton School with a concentration in Finance. Outside of his professional career, Dave enjoys weightlifting, cycling, and swimming as well as traveling to the Amalfi Coast of Italy.