Glenn Youngkin didn’t plan on becoming the Co-CEO of one of the world's largest private capital firms. He was shooting for the moon — and wherever else NASA would be sending astronauts by the time he graduated.
“I went to college with this ridiculous ambition to be in the space program,” Glenn says. “And I guess no one really told me that when you're 6’6” and weigh 220 pounds, they're not going to let you into a rocket ship.”
He studied engineering at Rice University in Houston to be closer to NASA, but it was his additional focus on managerial studies that led him down a different path. After receiving his Master of Business Administration from Harvard Business School, Glenn landed in the world of private equity, alternative asset management and financial services, and the vast majority of his experience — 25 years — was at The Carlyle Group.
In this episode of Deal Talk with 7MA, Glenn discusses what he learned at The Carlyle Group, which includes how to adapt to the increasingly technology-driven world, the importance of ESG components in every business plan and the key components of every good business that attract investors.
“If an investor is looking at a management team and evaluating their company, it just is a lot more fun when it's a good business,” he says. “And it's a lot more challenging if the business is either running into headwinds, or candidly just isn't that great a business model. … just do everything you can to build robust business models.”
Name: Glenn Youngkin
What he does: As the Co-Founder and Chairman of the Virginia Ready Initiative, Glenn works with his wife with the goal of helping Virginians experiencing employment disruption due to COVID-19. Through the initiative, the pair rewards those who pursue training for in-demand jobs.
Organization: Virginia Ready Initiative
Words of wisdom: “You’ve got to go where the opportunities are, first and foremost.”
Top takeaways from this episode
★ Tech dominates, so get onboard. One of the biggest evolutions in private capital over the last 10 years, Glenn argues, is the rising number of private equity firms investing in predominantly technology-driven industries such as software or healthcare. And if you’re looking to enter the business field in general right now, he adds that you better have tech skills.
★ Quality leadership makes a good company. Glenn believes there are four key components to a good business — sustainability, preparation, leadership and culture — but if you don’t have skilled, effective management, the other three won’t matter.
★ No business plan is complete without a strong Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance (ESG) component. Every single investment Carlyle makes has a meaningful ESG component, Glenn says, so he suggests companies take a hard look at their non-financial factors when preparing to be evaluated by potential investors.
★ During a pandemic in particular, you have to adapt or you’ll fail. Glenn recognizes that many companies might have been preparing for the next recession before COVID-19 even came into existence, but responding to it and its lasting effects isn’t the same as responding to a traditional recession. Take a look at what’s changed (such as more virtual meetings) and get used to it.
[5:36] Getting started in the...