Olympic Profile: Joe Hudepohl, Investment Management Division, New York

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Joe Hudepohl is a managing director and portfolio manager in our Investment Management Division in New York who joined Goldman Sachs in 1997. He's one of twenty GS employees and alumni who have competed in Olympic Games. Joe competed in two Olympics as a member of the US Olympics swimming team and won gold medals in Barcelona in 1992 (4x100m freestyle relay) and Atlanta in 1996 (4x200m freestyle relay).

Q:  How did you handle the intense pressure of competing at the Olympic level?

Joe: For some reason, I feel better in that environment. I know it's “make it or break it.” That's true both in business and in sports. I become very focused on what I am doing, which is an advantage because I can remain calm. It doesn't mean you don't get nervous, but there's a difference between being nervous and being able to stay focused on what you're doing.

Q: How did the analyst program compare to training for the Olympics?

Joe: Both are a tough environment. As long as you know what you're getting into and the demands you're going to face, it's a great experience. I think that our two-year analyst program is phenomenal for someone who really knows what they want to do. You get a ton out of it. It's a great introduction to the world of finance. For me, the intensity of the program fit my mentality. That's the environment I was used to. Between going to school and training, I was always in a demanding environment, so there was really no change. The hours were a little different, but the demands were the kind of environment I had created for myself all along. I think swimming and all of my past experiences put me in a good position to thrive in that environment and not struggle with it.

Q: Are there any parallels between outstanding performance in sport and in business?

Joe: I think there are a fair amount of parallels. Having the perseverance to get through tough times is important everywhere at every job. Clearly, the perseverance that I learned is helpful. There is also the desire to “win,” whatever you define “winning” as. In a sport, it's easy to define: winning the gold, winning the race. In business, there are different ideas of success, but I have that drive. I'm always thinking out three or four years, setting goals, trying to get better, trying to compete and be the best.

Q: What did you learn from your Olympic experience that you'd like to share?

Joe: A lot of people ask, “What's the one thing you remember from the Olympics?” but to tell the truth, there are many stories leading up to the Olympics that are just as important. It’s important to enjoy everything along the way, not just the final pinnacle goal. Enjoy the whole time period. That can be viewed as your entire career or one situation, one deal, or one year of investment horizon. It's not all about big successes, or else you wouldn’t be able to improve. It's the challenges, too, and the minor successes along the way. It's everything. It can make you a better investor or better in business to appreciate the mistakes and use them to get better, work harder, and have that goal out there that you continue to focus on.

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