Connor Saeli, a reality TV personality known for his appearances on ABC’s The Bachelorette and Bachelor in Paradise, visited Boston College on Thursday to discuss his experiences working at Goldman Sachs and living life in the public eye.
The event, which was hosted by the Student Business Consortium of BC, included an interview, Q&A session, and a meet and greet with the former Goldman Sachs Special Situations Group (SSG) Analyst.
Saeli attended Southern Methodist University as a Division I swimmer and graduated from its Cox School of Business in 2017. During that time, he held internships at banks, a mutual fund company, and, most significantly, SSG Goldman’s Principal Investing and Lending Group, which led to his interest in pursuing private equity post-graduation.
“I think a lot of kids kind of feel like they need to go straight into investment banking [jobs] that lead to the next path of private equity or hedge fund or whatever it is, but I really wanted to skip over that if I could,” Saeli said.
He also described how many of his opportunities arose from networking and by taking initiative with prospective employers. He gained one of his internships in college after reaching out to a managing director of a private equity firm on LinkedIn. Another arose from a chance meeting with a CEO of a bank in a Lifetime Fitness steam room.
“Yeah, so I found the most valuable thing in business and in life is just who you know,” he said. “It’s not really how smart you are, how hard you work—it’s just what people do you know that can help you get to where you want to be.”
As for recruitment, Saeli recommended not only attending companies’ information sessions but also approaching the recruitment team afterward. Introducing yourself puts a face to a name on an email or resume, he said. A good resume with a strong GPA is common, according to Saeli, but you can really develop connections in-person.
“And at the end of the day my thought on the whole recruiting thing is it’s just getting your foot in the door,” he said. “Once you get your foot in the door, that’s your time to shine and, you know, crush the interview or whatever.”
Saeli found he was most interested in the sourcing side of Goldman Sachs, which is typically reserved for managing directors or vice presidents. Maintaining his commitment to making bold moves, he decided to connect with the companies himself and take the initiative in creating deals.
“I kind of wanted to like run before I could walk … because I hated like sitting at a desk doing Excel spreadsheets,” he said. “And so I just kind of like took it upon myself to do it. I didn’t tell them what I was doing and I reached out to companies and private equity firms to get deals and I actually ended up getting them three, which was really cool. … I was the first panelist to ever do that.”
Though he found success at Goldman Sachs, Saeli admitted that there was a stigma related to his young age, as he was hired at just 24 years old, although this wasn’t what led him to resign from his position.
“I don’t want to say I didn’t enjoy my job but, like, I was not happy with what I was doing,” Saeli said. “The biggest challenge for me was just how monotonous every day was. You wake up, go to work, look at the computer screen for eight hours—usually a lot longer. And it was just such an unenjoyable lifestyle. … I just missed like the personal interaction with people”
Saeli explained that a billionaire entrepreneur, who he had met at the swimming pool of his apartment complex, asked him if he would run an apartment services company for him in Dallas.
He resigned from Goldman Sachs the week before Thanksgiving and got a call from a producer on The Bachelorette two weeks later. He had been nominated, unbeknownst to him, to be one of 30 men vying for Hannah Brown’s heart on Season 15 of the hit show.
After the show—he lasted seven weeks—Saeli decided to start a hedge fund with his brother. He’s still connected with Bachelor nation which he claims taught him important life lessons that are useful in his non-reality TV show life today.
“Everyone always asked me what is the show like and I usually describe it as like a giant psychology experiment,” he said. “I got really stressed out from that first week and kind of changed my mentality. …You can only control what you can control in life, and like the things that you can’t control, you just need to brush them off and make the most of the things that you can.”
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