For a long time, Sahil Bloom thought he was going to be a professional baseball player. Growing up just outside Boston, the son of a Harvard professor father and entrepreneur mother, Bloom’s biggest passion was baseball—so much so that he pitched his way into a baseball scholarship to Stanford University. Now, he plays a much more high-stakes game as a vice president of private equity firm Altamont Capital Partners, applying lessons he learned from his time on the field to his growth and development efforts.
Bloom played for the Stanford Cardinal for four years while getting his undergraduate degree in economics and sociology. He also cultivated a number of mentors during his time at Stanford, including Condoleezza Rice, who served as his academic advisor. “Learning from her in an intimate setting was a unique and incredible experience,” he says.
After earning his bachelor’s degree, however, Bloom felt slightly unmoored. “To use a cliché, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do with my life,” he says. So, he stayed around as a graduate assistant coach for the Cardinal while he studied for his master’s degree in public policy. Still unsure of his next steps, he was connected by a mentor with Altamont founder Jesse Rogers, who was doing some innovative hiring at his new firm.
“Most funds hire investment bankers and consultants with two-plus years of experience, but Altamont reached down further to hire at the analyst level straight out of school,” Bloom says. Soon, he was one of three in the first class of analysts, joining the firm in 2014.
“I had no idea what I was doing, to be honest,” Bloom laughs about his first days at Altamont. But he quickly learned the most effective way to make himself useful: find the one thing his boss hates doing and take it off his or her plate. “Early on, and even sometimes today, I really felt like an imposter,” Bloom said. “That helped me focus on improving each and every day and consistently building my value to the firm.” This focus helped him advance to associate in 2016, and all the way to vice president by 2018.
At Altamont, Bloom places a major focus on finding and executing the best deals possible. “We’re the stewards of capital for our investors,” he says. “It’s our job to invest capital and generate great returns for them.” Part of this involves pounding the pavement to meet founders and management teams, talking to them about the value of partnering with Altamont for their next phase of growth.
A major part of Bloom’s drive and success can be attributed to his growth mind-set, which he feels is fundamental to success. “When you stop growing, you start dying,” he remarks. He sees every interaction as an opportunity to learn and grow; the most successful people, he says, are present in every single interaction. “My goal is to never let my child-like curiosity fade,” Bloom says.
While his days of college baseball are over, Bloom still leans on valuable lessons learned from the sport to inform his growth mind-set and his work at Altamont. Not only does it help him interact with and lead a wide array of personalities, his time on the mound also forged a competitive spirit that he feels can only be learned in the sports world.
“How do you perform when the lights come on?” he asks. “If you come in with bases loaded and two outs in the ninth inning, how do you respond?”
Whether closing out a game or navigating bold new trends in private equity, Bloom uses that baseball-honed focus and his growth mind-set to keep his firm and his career going strong.
Sahil Bloom’s Book Recommendations
On top of his work at Altamont, Sahil Bloom is also an avid reader, reading sixty to seventy books a year and sending out a monthly newsletter outlining his recent reads to over 1,000 followers. Here are three books Bloom recommends:
Barbarians at the Gate: The Fall of RJR Nabisco (1989)
by Bryan Burrough and John Helyar
Bloom cites this account of the infamous Nabisco takeover as a vital text for developing an understanding of the world of high-finance and private equity.
Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World (2018)
by Hans Rosling
“It really makes the case for optimism in today’s world,” Bloom says.
When Breath Becomes Air (2016)
by Paul Kalanithi
The memoir of a Stanford neurosurgeon with terminal cancer, who wrote it in his last few years of life.
“Sahil has that rare ability to deftly manage both the business and human aspects of every transaction. He creates true believers of each stakeholder. We are always inspired by Sahil’s high expectations of us—and of himself—on every deal, and we look forward to supporting him as he continues to transform the industry.”
—Chau Le, Partner, Ropes & Gray LLP
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