Risky Business

March 19, 2012 (originally posted on February 9, 2012) | Hamilton, Ontario
Contributed by Kim Wojtczak, February 9, 2012

For many new graduates, it can be intimidating to take the leap into the world of professional, full-time work. DeGroote commerce graduate Adrian Bartha ‘05, however, took his leap all the way into the United States right after graduation and has recently started his own investment firm. Bartha’s willingness to take risks and seek opportunities has provided him with an array of work experiences and valuable professional relationships, leading to an exciting entrepreneurial venture.

Bartha has very specific goals and knows what he wants for High Park Capital, the investment firm he co-founded with colleague Josh LeBrun. Bartha and LeBrun aim to acquire a small-to-mid size Canadian business for long-term investment, which will give them more opportunity to grow the company. Bartha developed this entrepreneurial spirit through his wide range of career experiences.

Near the end of his final year at McMaster, Bartha actively sought a position at McKinsey & Co. after spotting a job posting at DeGroote for the company. He was offered a research position at the Boston office instead of the Toronto location he applied for, and decided to seize the opportunity by moving to the U.S. Bartha worked for both Boston and San Francisco McKinsey offices while living across the border. He states that the steep learning curve early on was just the challenge he needed to start his career.

“McKinsey provided me with great exposure to a diverse set of colleagues and client situations. I was taught how to apply my creativity to business situations and communicate at the executive level early in my career,” he explains.

Bartha moved back to Canada in order to challenge himself even more and diversify his portfolio. He accepted a position at OPTrust Private Markets Group, a $5 billion private equity group, and made a second career transition into finance. At OPTrust, Bartha was able to gain a high level of responsibility and develop relationships with prominent investors and entrepreneurs. Seeking more independence, Bartha and OPTrust colleague Josh started High Park Capital.

“I co-founded my own firm when I realized I had the opportunity in front of me and the skills, network and support behind me,” states Bartha.

Bartha points to his international experience as extremely helpful in equipping him for the Canadian business environment. He notes that the pace of business varies in different places and he learned to adapt accordingly. The relationships he established across the border are something Bartha considers especially valuable to his ultimate goals.

The DeGroote commerce graduate remains connected to the school despite the heavy responsibility of managing his own firm. Bartha participates in the DeGroote Mentorship Program, meeting with multiple students to give career advice and share his experiences. He has also been able to lead a guest lecture for an undergraduate business course at DeGroote.

Bartha’s hope is that undergraduate students remain open to taking risks and trying a variety of jobs like he did. “Students should think about the job industries, tasks, and geographies that excite them over the short term and be open to non-traditional paths. Otherwise, at some point you may tell yourself, ‘I regret not trying.’”

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