WEEK 2 (May 25-29): Renewed Professional Services Industry In NYC: Finance + Consulting

After Memorial Day (25/05/2015) we started back to business in earnest…

Day 6 (26/05/2015): Morning classroom session with Paul Toldalgi, Chairman/coFounder, BTA Partners LLC, who gave and overview of trading and funds. The main message was that there have been many innovations in technology for finance including order management systems and settlement systems. Technology had revolutionised the way trading is done today as computer algorithms can now explore how to buy and sell shares. Advice given was that “the world is full of local opportunities”, secondly “if you are curious by nature, you will always find topics which interest you that you will be passionate about” and lastly, go find “your ultimate path and destination”.

In the afternoon we went to visit General Atlantic, which is a private equity firm that invests in companies who need to grow. They have 10 offices worldwide and 200 employees. The operating model is with circa $20 billion in capital they have 50 companies in their portfolio at any one time, they target to invest $2 billion a year in about 12 to 13 investments each year with up to $150 million in each, then hold for 5 years and make 20% profit every year to double their profit after 5 years. At the moment they are investing in China and India and they reiterated that the key to moving into emerging markets is that “understanding the local market is very important” and to do so they hire local advisors in each of the countries. For ethical reasons they do not invest in alcohol, tobacco, gambling or military companies.

Day 7 (27/05/2015): Bela Sandor an independent Management Consultant and the Director of Vertical Cloud Solutions gave a lecture on consulting and how to manage projects and the client.
How to manage a successful project:
§ Produce a business outcome
§ Timeframe
§ Price
§ Define the deliverables
§ Always have a sponsor
§ Define the Scope is the SOW
§ State what you will do and when
§ State your expectations from the client
§ Don’t start any work without a signed contract
§ Manage cash flow
§ Know the profitability
§ Cost the travel accurately
§ Plan engagement correctly
§ Use milestones
§ Do not let customer payments slide
§ Remember: they hired you, they need you
Advice for starting your own consultancy business:
§ Define who are you
§ What is your brand
§ What is it that you are good at
§ Where do you want to go
§ Setup the local entity
§ Errors and Omissions Insurance

What is missing in the CEE Region for Entrepreneurs?
§ Know how
§ Practical experience
§ Mentoring
§ Facilities
§ Connections
§ FFF – triple F funding
During the afternoon session, Aaron Foster, from the Cross-Region Business Analytics & Insights Department in Pfizer gave an overview of Pfizer, the pharma industry in particular vaccines, oncology, and how business analytics is changing how Pfizer analyses data, their competitors data and how it changes how they do business. He also gave an overview of Asia-Pacific Oncology Medical Tourism and how the data can provide education to GPs, match patients to destinations, provide process info and logistical support, build collaboration and provide patient and caregiver support

Day 8 (28/05/2015):
Ernst and Young Company Visit
In the morning the team at Ernst and Young at the Times Square offices gave an overview of the company and the different service offerings and the Americas Recruitment manager also gave some advice on what it is like working for E&Y and what they are looking for in the 22,000 new hires he has to recruit this year
In the afternoon session, Stephen Ibach gave a lecture on “What’s the future of Finance”. To quote Peter Drucker, “the only thing we know about the future is that it will be different”! The best advice Stephen gave was that if you are an entrepreneur at heart don’t sit in a corporate office every day for 15 years wishing you were building something, go out and do it!! He also warned against joining the herd in Wall Street as “if you have ambition, don’t go to Wall Street; Wall Street doesn’t have any ambition any more”! He also recommended some websites for anyone interested in FinTech;

Day 9 (29/05/2015):
Our visit on Friday morning to Zephyr Management where we met Thomas Barry and Stephen Canter was my absolute favourite of the week. These two witty and savvy gentlemen in their dickey bows gave the most interesting session with the best career advice of how they would do things if given the chance again. They are a private equity firm which specialises in investing in developing markets, India and most recently Sri Lanka. Their words of wisdom were;
§ Don’t follow the herd mentality
§ Actively manage your own career
§ Have a network of people you can talk to
§ Always have a Mentor
§ Put yourself outside your comfort zones
§ Have a relative advantage
§ And my favourite… go to a different country from the rest of the herd and you will be seen a genius just by rocking up!
§ Lastly, always follow your heart!!

Monty Graham, Founder of 350 Technologies, gave an overview on Friday afternoon of climate change and what needs to change to make smart cities more energy efficient. Electricity is the biggest cause of emissions and New York needs to make buildings more sustainable and more efficient. NYC produces 12,000 tonnes of waste that are taken away to landfill in other states every day, but this should be reduced, reused and recycled. His definition of a Smart City is “Technology, information and analytics are embedded and operating in real-time in the urban infrastructure, to enable efficient resource use and improve the quality of life”

Overall Week 2 was a completely different view of New York compared to Week 1, giving an overview of the city from a finance and consulting perspective with some very insightful and informed advice from the intriguing people we met!


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