We invest in exceptional people to create exceptional companies. Since 2001, Alpine has believed that inspiring growth in people is the most sound way to build growth and revenue. We start within our own offices, and share our learnings with our portfolio companies. Here are some of our favorite stories about heroes being unleashed.
My Summer at Alpine
By Conor Melbourne
At the beginning of his junior year at Princeton, Conor Melbourne was tired of feeling like an asset in the typical intern recruiting process. After conversations with investment banks, consulting firms, and a few traditional private equity firms, he learned about Alpine from a friend and quickly knew he had found his place. The collegiate wrestler and economics major credits great people in his interviews for convincing him to join, and the culture of constant feedback and support for inspiring him to work with Alpine part time during his senior year, then signing a full time offer letter earlier this year. He shares a few stories of personal growth from the summer, and why he can’t wait to join the full-time team in San Francisco this September.
Alpine is a middle-market private equity firm focused on software and services businesses up to $500m of EV. We closed our seventh fund at $1 billion in November 2019. Our CEO-in-Residence (CIR) model allows proven operators to step into leadership roles within our portfolio, while our CEO-in-Training (CIT) program has helped more than 25 recently graduated MBAs from the world’s top business schools accelerate into the CEO chair.
“Everyone wants to see you improve and do well. And I think it’s much easier to do well as an individual when everyone around you is supporting you and not competing with you.”
“The process was incredibly insightful. The questions they asked actually taught me a lot about myself, like decide where I would rank bottom 10% at Princeton. They also asked about the most influential person in my life (besides family), and that made me think. It also made me realize that Alpine is looking for high attribute people, not just those who can do quantitative things. Seeing how much everyone loved Alpine was probably the big deciding factor.”
Two Weeks of Onboarding
“Going into the summer, I was a little bit worried that it was going to be busy work. I imagined I would spend my time making a pitch book or other more menial tasks.
“I’ve taken a couple of finance classes. I’m an economics major with a certificate in finance, but I’ve never had any real world experience. It was my first real internship. Alpine taught me everything that I needed to know, and I think a lot of the most important things you learn as you go along. And a lot of the soft skills you can’t teach in school.”
“The first two weeks of onboarding were fairly intense. I think one three-hour session of the accounting class was more than I learned in 300-level accounting at Princeton.”
“After two weeks of onboarding, I was thrown into the fire and learned tangible skills that I couldn’t gain in the classroom.”
Feedback & Learnings
“A common theme amongst the four people that I worked most closely with over the summer was intellectual honesty and candor. They gave me some serious feedback. They made sure I knew how to improve in the future, and I think that’s why I learned so much over that six week period. It was really hands on. I had weekly meetings, sometimes two, three meetings a week with my mentor and my managers.”
“The first time I gave an Alpine pitch in onboarding in front of the entire sourcing team, I was so nervous and my face turned bright red. It was my first real presentation in a professional environment and I tanked it. Alpine Partner Matt Moore and my manager Pat Eble gave me some advice. They told me to loosen up and relax, and they reminded me that Alpine is not too intense or judgemental. My next presentation was 10 times better.
“People I was working with really valued that I was improving over the summer. So they didn’t ding me for starting off poorly. They said, ‘We see that you’re improving week in and week out, and that’s something that we really celebrate.’”
3 Summer Highlights
- Getting the offer from Pat Eble on the last day of my internship. I said yes immediately and got emails and calls from the entire team, congratulating me. It meant a lot.
- Intern competitions. In a non-COVID year, Alpine sends interns to baseball games and to Napa Valley. But a remote internship can be challenging. Every week we did some sort of game, like jeopardy or Alpine trivia. It was fun to interact with the other interns in a non-professional setting and to make friends outside of work meetings. I’m proud to say I also took home a nice YETI cooler for winning the most overall competitions 🙂
- The first time I led a banker call and it went really smoothly. The banker couldn’t tell that I was only 21, and I heard really positive feedback afterward. It was a culmination of everything that I’d learned over the summer, and it felt so good to be empowered to test my new skills.
- One word to describe the sourcing team: Energetic.
- One must-have trait to be great at sourcing: Personable.
- The biggest skill you felt like you grew: Confidence in speaking.
- Advice for someone applying to Alpine: Just reach out and hop on the phone with someone. Anyone at the company will be happy to take a call and they’ll be very open with you about Alpine.
Why work part time for Alpine during your senior year of college?
“I’ve wrestled for the past 12 years of my life, very competitively. It’s taken up a lot of my time, and when that got canceled because of the pandemic, I wondered what I would do with my time. And instead of playing video games with my friends all the time, I decided to do something a bit more productive. It’s been a great learning experience. And instead of having to relearn everything about Alpine when I join this September, I feel like I’m going to come in and hit the ground running.”
What are you excited to learn this year as a full-time Alpine analyst?
“I’ve spent a lot of the past year pitching Alpine to bankers, and I’m really excited to continue working directly with Matt and Pat on founder pitches. It’s very different because you have to hit different types of points. I’m excited to figure out my own story that best resonates with founders, because the best pitches are the ones only you can give.”