After his military service in Vietnam, Henry de Montebello (MBA '76) obtained a Bachelor of Arts with honors from Harvard University. He then went on to earn his MBA from Darden. Recruited by Cresap, McCormick & Paget after he completed his MBA degree, de Montebello served as a strategy and organization consultant for three years. He was based in London, working throughout the Middle East and Mexico, prior to joining Russell Reynolds Associates (RRA) in 1979.
De Montebello spent 33 years in the RRA New York and Paris offices, working with clients around the world and serving in a number of management roles (both geographic and sectorial). Elected to the RRA Executive Committee twice, he also coordinated both the industrial and consumer sectors, was secretary to the board of directors and head of the nominating committee.
What’s a typical day like for you at work?
My workdays were extremely varied, with some time spent on internal matters, interviews with potential candidates, meetings with clients and colleagues, phone calls and producing reports. I also traveled a great deal around the world with my management responsibilities.
What lessons did you learn at Darden that you apply to your job on a regular basis?
Probably that I am not that smart and that nothing beats hard work.
How has Darden impacted your life?
Clearly, Darden gave me the possibility of applying to pretty prestigious companies.
What keeps you up at night?
As a French resident, I am worried about the disastrous management of the French economy and society, and I am worried about the impact of the ridiculous fiscal policy on my retirement.
What’s the best advice you have ever received?
Be a proactive listener.
What’s your personal motto?
Carpe diem (not very original, but … ).
How do you measure success? I suppose it would be recognition from peers as well as the ability to lead a very pleasant life without too much financial stress and, of course, being able to provide for my family.
What motivates you?
Solving people problems and assisting others, and being rewarded financially for doing so (to be perfectly honest).
What’s the most memorable experience you had as a student at Darden?
Probably crying and begging to be passed in "Quantiative Analysis" and "Accounting."
What’s the most memorable experience you’ve had as a Darden alumnus? My pretty successful professional life.
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