Continuing with our interview series, our Curriculum Director connected with one of Investors of Tomorrow’s Board of Directors, Paul Jun, to learn about his decision-making process behind some of his career choices. Paul is currently pursuing his MBA degree at Harvard Business School. Prior to attending HBS, he worked in a variety of roles including tech investor at Index Ventures, VP at Dropbox, Private Equity Associate at Leonard Green & Partners and Investment Banking Analyst at Morgan Stanley. Paul is a proud alumnus of the Ivey School of Business at Western University.
How did you become interested in finance?
My initial interest in finance and the markets started all the way back in middle school; I remember I was an avid newsreader and would often come across business articles about the major developments in companies and the financial markets. These articles especially appealed to me, as I had always been curious to learn about how the financial markets worked and the vast opportunities that they offered.
Why did you transition to PE?
When I was recruiting for jobs at Ivey, I was torn between picking Investment Banking and Consulting. Investment banking focused more on the value side of a company whereas consulting analyzed the strategic positioning of a client. I wished to hone my skills in both so the decision-making process was quite difficult. Even though I chose investment banking in the end, part of me was still interested in learning about the operational aspect of many companies. I felt that private equity combined both investment banking and consulting along with the advantages of being a principal actor vs. an agent/advisor.
What about corporate finance & strategy at Dropbox?
I joined Dropbox in 2013 as a generalist on our business team when it was a Series B start-up. My job was to identify, develop and lead projects that had high potential impact on Dropbox. These projects included finding and defining our target market for monetizable users and returning to positive free cash flow. In my first year I was asked to be a people manager. And over the course of my stay at Dropbox, I transitioned to lead the Strategic Finance (Special Projects), Corporate Development and Investor Relations teams – a combination we called Corporate Finance & Strategy.
Why MBA (Especially at this point in your career)?
Coming out of Ivey, my career plan was the “classic” finance 2+2+2; 2 years in investment banking, 2 years in private equity; and potentially a 2-year MBA. When I received an offer to stay in private equity, I started thinking about what I would want to do after business school. I did want to return to investing as that had been a passion of mine. At the same time, I had always had a strong interest in technology. I can still remember vividly the time I bought and coded my first web domain at 13 years old and how much I loved that experience. Also, i thought I had a lot to learn from working in an operating role. There was an exceptionally compelling opportunity at Dropbox to work alongside a number of other hyper talented peers that were similarly ex-PE buyside backgrounds. So, it was perfect for me. I thought I would join Dropbox for a year, learn a bunch about what it would be like taking on an operating role and then head to business school.
What about VC? / Plans for the Future
Dropbox was backed by a number of really great VC firms and I had the opportunity to get to know the firms over my 4 years there. As I was leaving Dropbox, I mentioned that I would be heading to HBS (and returning back to investing afterwards). That sparked interest and dialogue on potential opportunities in Venture Capital. So, in the next stage of my career, I can envision myself taking on the role of a technology investor and I’m very excited.