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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    UA grad tells how to succeed in business

    Former UA student Noah Knauf proves that hard work and determination go a long way in today’s business world.

    Knauf, an Eller College of Management graduate who has worked for a top-three strategy consulting firm, launched his own health technology business and is graduating with a Master of Business Administration from Stanford University’s business school in June. He has already landed a job working for a $15-billion private equity fund company.

    That long list of accomplishments has certainly kept Knauf busy since his undergraduate graduation from the UA in 2001.

    “”It’s translated to not a lot of sleep and not a lot of free time,”” Knauf said. “”But it’s very rewarding and definitely worth it.””

    Knauf is in Tucson today and will be discussing several topics about the world of business at the UA economics society talk tonight at 6 in McClelland Hall, Room 132.

    During his four years as an undergraduate at the UA, Knauf kept himself heavily involved with the Eller College and decided that perseverance and dedication were key components in making it big in the business world, especially as a young person.

    “”When I was at the U of A, I was really active with the Eller College,”” Knauf said. “”I started a group called Students Consulting for Non-Profit Organizations, which is a group that brings business students together with nonprofits to do pro bono consulting projects.””

    The group is still an active and growing organization in the Eller College.

    “”I had identified strategy consulting as something I wanted to do and did everything I could to build a good story for that,”” Knauf said. “”It’s a really competitive field.””

    Knauf decided that to make his way into this competitive business market he would have to literally just start knocking on doors.

    “”I contacted every office and cold-called recruiters to try and talk my way into getting them to look at my resume and get an interview,”” Knauf said.

    All of his hard work paid off – he got interviews at both Bain and Company and McKinsey and Company, arguably the top-two strategy consulting firms in the U.S.

    “”They both primarily recruit and hire from Ivy League schools, so it took a lot of work on my part to get interviews with both of them,”” Knauf said.

    He ended up getting offers from both companies but chose Bain and Company, located in Boston, over McKinsey and Company.

    “”It was a really hard decision because Bain was a little smaller and younger than McKinsey, but it turned out to be really wonderful,”” Knauf said.

    After two years of work with Bain and Company, Knauf was recruited by Parthenon Capital, a private equity firm in Boston.

    “”At Parthenon, I was responsible for taking a portfolio company public on the NY Stock Exchange and also worked with a team on a $500-million acquisition of a consumer products company,”” Knauf said.

    Knauf spent another two years working with Parthenon Capital before deciding he wanted to go back to school to get his Master of Business Administration.

    He applied to both Harvard’s and Stanford’s business schools and got into both but ultimately decided on Stanford.

    “”I was ready to get back out west, and I loved the entrepreneur standard at Stanford,”” Knauf said. “”But it was another really tough decision.””

    During this transition, Knauf was also busy launching a consumer health technology company called Nutrax in 2005.

    The first product launched with it was a nutritional-tracking product that uses camera phones to enhance nutritional counseling, including a system that lets people keep track of their daily nutrient intake on their phones.

    “”It’s been a challenge, “”said Knauf of going to graduate school and building up a new company at the same time. “”The program I’m in is extremely demanding and there are constant trade-offs, but there are a lot of advantages.””

    Knauf said one of the best advantages of business school is the networking available.

    “”Business school is all about the relationships you make, and if you neglect that part of it, you will be sorry,”” Knauf said.

    In September he will start working with Warburg Pincus, a large private equity firm.

    “”Similar to the Eller College, Stanford has a great career-services program, but the opportunities in private equity are less abundant, so I had to be really pro-active in getting a job,”” Knauf said. “”My search was network-driven.””

    During his talk tonight, Knauf will discuss topics like the benefits of pursing a Master of Business Administration, career paths and getting into top business schools.

    “”As a young person in business, you should always be thinking about the story you’re creating, what you’re accomplishing, what you’re contributing to society and how you can plan ahead,”” Knauf said.

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