Students in the NYC Program boarded a train to Stamford, Conn., on Oct. 23 to meet with the founder and managing partner of Olympus Partners, Rob Morris '76 P'16, '17. The Hamilton College trustee spoke about his career, shared some adventures and answered some eager questions.
Morris detailed his current operations at the global private equity firm where he and his team manage $5.6 billion dollars. His clients are exclusively institutional investors who agree to a 10-year investment. Olympus Partners’ portfolio companies consist of those in the manufacturing, consumer, financial institutions and select health care industries. Morris also has found space for some innovative and niche companies.
Morris shared his career path to Olympus which included a few comical digressions into tales of his youth. For instance, when he chose to leave his position as senior vice president of GE Investment Corporation to start his own private equity firm, RJR Nabisco decided to go private in the biggest leveraged buyout deal of its time ($24 billion). This effectively eliminated Morris' target client base. Fortunately, through opportunistic and logical thinking, Morris was able to gain clients and build Olympus Partners into the well-known and respected private equity firm that it is today.
The session also allowed time for the students to ask questions. In his responses, Morris emphasized the importance of fit in one’s career. He highlighted the importance of human interplay, effecting change and working well with others in the realm of private equity. Above all, Morris seemed to value logical, comprehensive and long-term thinking.