Member Spotlight: Peter Jean-Francois
Peter Jean-Francois, MBA, JM
Associate Vice President, Global Investment Banking at
Number of Years
1.5 years as Global Investment Banking Associate, with a
recent a promotion to Associate Vice President, Global
Sales and Related
University of Central Florida, Bachelor of Business Administration
Loyola Marymount University, Master of Business Administration in Finance
Loyola Law School, Juris Master – Master of Legal Studies in Corporate/Business Law
Los Angeles, CA
National Black MBA Association – Los Angeles Chapter Scholarship
Loyola Marymount University Sheri and Val Schnabl Scholarship
Bright Futures Scholarship
Why did you become involved with the National Black MBA Association (NBMBAA)?
I became involved in the first year of my MBA program at Loyola Marymount University, where I attended multiple networking and speaker events. I even applied for the Los Angeles Chapter scholarship and was chosen as an award recipient. Engaging in Chapter events and activities, I foster relationships with members throughout the organization. I am motivated to surround myself with professional, hardworking, and like-minded individuals who aspire to be successful and effect positive change in their communities.
What is the biggest challenge of working in your industry?
The biggest challenge in my industry is business development. Client origination requires building relationships with corporate executives and management teams of small and mid-sized businesses. I advise on financial transactions that materially alter the organizational and financial structures of the companies involved, so trust is essential. It is difficult to gain an individual's trust–let alone the trust of a large organization comprised of several individuals–within a short period and reassure my firm is the right choice for corporate finance or mergers and acquisitions transactions.
What do you consider to be your greatest career (or academic) accomplishment to date?
Professional Achievement. My greatest career accomplishment is originating my first client for the firm. I built a relationship with the company's CEO and uniquely positioned my firm as best suited to serve the company's interests and needs. After a few months of explaining who my firm is, the overall process, and the details of an engagement, the CEO felt comfortable with selecting my firm for corporate finance services.
Academic Achievement. My academic accomplishments paved the way for me professionally. Holding both an MBA and JM degree has enhanced my professional status and credibility. I can establish connections and engage in corporate finance and mergers and acquisitions discussions with executives that manage and operate large, mid-sized, and small businesses.
What is the most important skill you have developed in your career (or academia)?
The most important skill I continue to refine and develop is the ability to establish and maintain relationships. Cultivating relationships allows me to build and expand personal and professional networks. My network consists of highly motivated, intelligent, influential individuals; it is an important referral source for generating business opportunities. My ability to leverage and sustain these connections are the cornerstone of my professional success.
Who has been the most influential person in your career (professional, academic)?
The people that have influenced my academic and professional career the most are my parents. Their advice and guidance shaped me into the dynamic individual I am today. They placed a strong emphasis on education and hard work, and always encouraged me to adopt different interests (as well as participate in various activities). These principles and values are the framework of my ethos, and their constant support and everlasting love inspire me to assume new responsibilities and pursue new opportunities with relentless passion.
Why/When did you decide to pursue a career in your field?
I decided to pursue a career in investment banking, because I was (and continue to be) interested in international business, corporate finance, mergers and acquisitions, financial analysis and consulting, relationship building, and sales. My role in investment banking allows me to combine my passion and interest while simultaneously employing a multitude of skills to execute complex transactions on behalf of corporations and small to mid-size businesses globally.
What books and/or articles are you currently reading?
My reading selections–ranging from politics to economics to finance–are: The Economist, Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, World Economic Forum, ProPublica, MIT Technology Review, The Hill, Politico, Forbes, The New Yorker, NPR, Hoover Institution, Cato Institute, Brookings Institution, American Enterprise Institute, The Atlantic, The New York Times, History, National Review, Harvard Business Review, TED, and TechCrunch.
What educational or business experiences best prepared you for your career?
My experience as a Founder and COO best prepared me for my career in investment banking. The knowledge, skills, and abilities I developed through entrepreneurship apply to my current role. As an entrepreneur, you learn how to: manage and operate a business, undertake multiple tasks and projects with a firm deadline, develop unique strategies to generate sales, and construct forecasts to project financial performance. The roles and responsibilities of an investment banker reflect those of an entrepreneur: A successful investment banker is a successful entrepreneur.
What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
"Behind every successful person, there's a lot of unsuccessful years." This quote has resonated with me the most over the years. As I continue to grow and learn as a professional, I have noticed that many people embrace a mindset or mantra of instant gratification. They believe success arrives overnight, when the reality is success is the outcome of delayed gratification. It is the product of a few unsuccessful years and overcoming failures, challenges, and obstacles. Ultimately, success varies for each person, but the process of reaching it is similar.