I am an intern at the Watermill Group. I graduated from Cornell in May and in June was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals. I was assigned to the Cardinal’s Class A short-season affiliate team where I spent the rest of my summer playing baseball. Currently in my off season, I am working at Watermill while getting ready for spring training in March.
If you take one lap around the Watermill office, it’s easy to see that the people here are huge baseball fans. So much so, you can predict what the mood at lunch is going to be based on how the Red Sox played the night before. But before you judge the group’s dedication to the game, you must understand how similar baseball and private equity really are. Here are seven ways my experiences in baseball connect to working in private equity.
- The baseball season is long and requires endurance. Teams play 162 games in a season. Watermill reviews hundreds of deal books throughout the year. Lace em’ up, we’re in it for the long haul.
- I’ll shake the catcher off several times before finding the pitch I want to throw. Partners do the same thing with companies. You need to have conviction in the direction you’re going and once you have that…watch out…it’s on.
- In both baseball and private equity, we have to fuel up for the big game/meeting, so you’ll find a pre-game food spread in both settings. Only difference here is that in minor league baseball, PB&J is its own food group.
- We swing for the fences at Watermill, but are patient too. It’s a delicate balance that few have mastered. One of those people being David Ortiz. He’s my pick for Watermill’s player comp. Go big or go home.
- When I’m about to pitch a deal summary to the Watermill team, it might as well be bottom of the 9th with two outs. The adrenaline rush is real. My heart is pounding, I’m locked in and ready to fire.
- The Watermill team operates just like a pitching staff. You have your starters, your closer, and specialty options out of the bullpen. Everyone has their own unique style and skills that they bring to the table. With all the talent on the Watermill staff I’m still trying to find my niche, even if it’s as the weird guy that throws knuckle balls.
- Believe it or not there have been mascots in both my private equity and baseball experience. Watermill’s mascot is everyone’s favorite dog, Dash. He is less animated than the “BB&T Knookie Monster” I had over the summer, but that’s probably not a bad thing.
So now the verdict is out. Baseball and private equity are a match made in heaven.
By: Paul Balestrieri, Fall 2017 & Winter 2018 Intern