KSOM hosts John Dionne as executive in residence


Nearly every seat in the Pearn auditorium was taken Wednesday for the Kania School of Management’s (KSOM) Executive in Residence John Dionne.

Dionne is a senior advisor of Blackstone and was most recently a senior managing director and global head of the Private Equity Business Development and Investor Relations Group. He also served as a member of Blackstone’s Private Equity Investment and Valuation Committees. Dionne has led global fundraising efforts of more than $20 billion for three new private equity investment vehicles since 2009.

Dionne told an entertaining story about his life and career, keeping the room full of students intrigued. He offered advice on personal and career developments as well as family and spiritual values.

Dionne explained that economic incentives should not be the main focus when deciding on a career.

“I never had an economic objective when I was looking for careers. In fact, as I progressed in my career, I accepted jobs with increasingly lower pay. My goal was not just to make money, but to be the best at what I did,” Dionne said.

Dionne went further into depth about not taking a job just for salary and bonuses. Individuals who take jobs just for pay and not for what they love to do often end up miserable at work.

While many believe they may be able to handle the misery of a full-time job, Dionne spoke about how attitudes from work carry into home and family life, putting career planning into perspective for a number of students.

“I’ve rarely seen anyone be miserable at work but happy at home,” Dionne said.

Dionne focused on two things when it comes to developing oneself for the career world. First and foremost, he stressed that students need to “just be themselves” when interviewing for jobs and networking, allowing for the development of authenticity in relationships and a reputation of integrity. Second, he made a point to repeat that a student’s only competition is his or herself; it is important that students constantly evaluate and re-invent themselves.

Perhaps the most valuable advice given from Dionne was to be mindful of how fast time moves. Dionne asked students to take a second and think about how fast their time has gone so far at The University and also to take some time to think about how, with each passing year, time seems to go by faster.

Dionne told students to identify goals in several aspect of their life.

“Once you start working and pursuing career goals, you may in fact lose sight of your goals in other aspects of your life,” Dionne said. “My best advice to you is to write down three things you would like to say when you’re 75.”

These goals may be best outlined in three categories: business, family and spirituality. Students were encouraged to write down their goals in each of these categories and revisit their progression at least once per year. After all, life is not only about business, but balancing the other important aspects of being human.

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