Masters in Business Series featuring Frank Carpenito
By Andrea Martin, JD/MBA '14
The second installment of the 2YC Masters in Business series is based on our meeting with Dancing Deer CEO, Frank Carpenito. It was interesting to hear his Lessons in Leadership and add them to those we learned at Eastern Bank. Mr. Carpenito has had a great deal of experience in consumer goods, entrepreneurial companies, and companies in need of a turnaround. He has been at Dancing Deer Bakery for five years, and has implemented a strategy change that has yielded great results for the company.
After an eye-opening tour of the baking facility (including some samples!), Mr. Carpenito shared five Lessons in Leadership with us that he believes are the most instrument ‘learnings’ of his career. These include:
- Find a Mentor. It is extremely important to identify and engage with 2-3 mentors early in your career. It is important to have mentors in a professional capacity to offer you guidance and advice, and to ‘run things by.’ These should be people who are willing to “shoot straight” with you.
- There is great value in gaining diverse experience early in your career. Mr. Carpenito recounted one story from early in his career where he chose not to go to Europe, as well as one where he turned down an offer to go from sales to marketing. He now believes it is important to get as much diverse experience as possible, and to get it quickly. This will allow you to learn things early on that you can apply throughout the rest of your career.
- Understand how banks/lenders assess risks and opportunities before lending or beginning a relationship: It is important to understand the way the outside world views you, the business, and what you are doing with the business. All businesses need working capital, and it is therefore imperative to understand the tools and resources available to you to be successful.
- Know how to effectively roadmap a career to ensure efficiency in progression. Normally people have a general direction in mind of where they want their careers to take them, and this is good. It is important, however, to make sure you regularly re-calibrate your roadmap with family, mentors, and your own goals and objectives. The purpose of this re-calibration is to determine if you are enjoying what you are doing, reassess where you hope to be, and decide how to gain the experiences you are seeking. You need a strategy, but remember there are different paths to get to your end goal.
- Learn to manage up and manage through bureaucracy as needed and as required. Remember that you are not only managing your job and potentially others, but also managing yourself within the organization. Build relationships, confidence, and trust with the people you for work and those working for you. How you are perceived by your superiors will always be important throughout your career, and if you build trust with them, it will become easier to “sell” them your ideas. Learn how to partake in bureaucracy where it exists (and also know that bureaucratic organizations are not necessarily right for everyone, and that is okay).
Mr. Carpenito shared these five compelling lessons with our team, though one key theme shined through most: the importance of diversity. He noted how crucial it is to gain diverse experience, have diverse mentors, and gain diverse points of view on your business.
As I reflect on the past few years, I realize how easy it is to lose focus of the big picture while studying one area of business so deeply. As I prepare for my career after graduate school, I will be keeping these lessons in mind, and striving earnestly to be the most well-rounded me that I can be.
Read first article in this series, Lessons In Lessons in Leadership: Reflections on Management Practice II and the BC MBA Experience and the second article Masters in Business series featuring Richard Holbrook
Andrea Martin is a JD/MBA student with an MBA specialization of corporate finance. After two summers of legal internships, this past summer she interned with Brown Brothers Harriman in a compliance role. Andrea is very excited to be working in Transfer Pricing at Ernst & Young after graduation, though much less excited for the bar exam!