Student Profile: The Entrepreneur
Chris Cheever ’09
Co-leader, Private Equity Club
Post-MBA Position: Founding Principal, Fontinalis Partners, LLC
In college, I interned as a research associate at a buy-side firm on Wall Street. I immediately loved the idea of becoming an investment professional. After graduation, I took a job with UBS, where I worked in private wealth management in New York.
When I looked at business schools, I was excited by the SOM curriculum and how closely it modeled the issues I faced in the business world. But what really sealed it for me was my interaction with SOM alumni. I reached out to two who were on the SOM Board of Advisors. I had a long phone conversation with one and lunch with the other. I was really impressed by them — not just their careers, but how committed they are to the school. I came away with the sense that SOM really is a tight-knit community.
Now I’m starting a business with one of my classmates. I interned as an associate at a private equity firm last summer, while Chris Thomas interned at Ford Motor Company. Together, we came up with an interesting idea: to form a company to go out, find, and acquire young technology companies focused on helping municipalities make public transportation more efficient. Introducing simple efficiencies to robust transit systems has massive benefits for a region — happier end users, environmental rewards, and greater economic productivity, to mention a few. We have angel investors from both the transportation and finance communities, and are launching the company this year. Our goal is to be profitable while benefiting society. It’s really a classic SOM story.
There is one more aspect that makes this a great SOM story. Chris and I worked on it all year as an independent project. Our advisor has been Jeff Sonnenfeld, a professor with great ideas who has put us in touch with all types of people interested in what we’re doing. He’s one of about 15 faculty who have helped us. This is what people mean when they talk about SOM’s sense of community.
Interviewed on April 23, 2009.