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Home  > Insider profile
Robert Quandt

"Find something that you like and something that you are good at. If you like your work and you have a talent for it, you cannot help but be successful."

As children, we're all asked the question "What do you want to be when you grow up?" How did you answer?

Honestly, I had no idea, I ruled out Medicine pretty early on, but after that the field was wide open. I wanted to be the quarterback of the Chicago Bears, but I think it was pretty obvious early on that I needed a new job.

What have been the most defining moments along your career path?

At college I really enjoyed my economics courses and found that the subject came naturally to me. At that point I began to think less about academia or law and more about business. I spent a summer internship in investment banking in NYC. It was great from the perspective that I learned a lot, and I also learned that I did not want to be an investment banker.

How did you get your big breaks?

If anything I would not say that I have had big breaks, but a series of small breaks. I think it is easy to look back on the particular path you end up going down and convincing yourself that is the only way it could have happened, but in reality there are a lot of opportunities out there if you keep working at it.

What was the best advice you received when you were first starting out in your career?

Find something that you like and something that you are good at. If you like your work and you have a talent for it, you cannot help but be successful.

What have you learned from your experience?

The first thing I have learned from my experience is that you never stop learning. The most impressive senior people I have worked with are the ones that never stopped being curious and never stopped being open to new ideas. Another thing I have learned thus far is that if it seems like there is an easier or better way to do something there probably is. Don?t be afraid to ask questions, learn from your co-workers to avoid inventing the wheel. Especially when you are starting out, it is likely that someone else had the same question. Also, when you are new to a situation, you can add value. Once in a while, when you say ?what is the best way to get this done? someone else will say ?I don?t know I have never really thought about that before? and then you might be onto something. However, the challenge, especially when you are starting out, is also to show that you can be independent and get things done without always asking for approval or guidance. So knowing when and how to ask questions, balancing seeking help vs. being independent is worth thinking and monitoring yourself on.

What most excites you about your job right now?

Exposure to a number of different areas of business, and working with some really bright people.

What would you like to have achieved by the last day of your career?

I would like to have two careers, one in the private sector and one in the public sector. At the end of the private sector career I would like to be able to never worry about money while living well. At the end of the public sector career I would like to be able to point to a tangible impact that made a large positive difference for a large number of people.

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