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Director in Private Equity Investments Group at Thrivent Financial
Earned MBA at The University of Chicago with high honors, M.S. in Accountancy at Notre Dame with highest honors, and B.A. from Miami, Summa Cum Laude and selected as Valedictorian
Originally from Sarasota, Florida
Moved to MSP in 2016 after business school in Chicago and spent entire career in from New York
Lives in North Loop neighborhood of Minneapolis
Profile: Matt Fisk, Thrivent
Q:Could you describe your role and your team at Thrivent?
A: My team is responsible for providing Thrivent with exposure to the private equity asset class. My colleagues and I are responsible for evaluating and executing mainly middle market buyout focused investment opportunities. We are a highly collaborative group that values candor, hard work, team success, and full alignment with one another.
I knew Thrivent well, despite being from Florida, given my Lutheran upbringing. One of its legacy organizations, Aid Association for Lutherans, was heavily involved with my childhood church. Working for Thrivent in my capacity is unique in that it allows me to remain highly commercial and results oriented, just as I had been in my other shops during my career, but work for a place that gives back in such a profound manner. It’s nice to know that when we drive strong returns through our investments, some of that money is going directly back to charities that make a difference.
Q: Have you found differences working in private equity in this part of the country?
A: There’s definitely a Midwestern undertone in the MSP private equity community. Irrespective of where you are in the country, private equity professionals will always be driven to succeed, hard-working, and intellectually curious, but there’s certainly more emphasis on humility, character, and relationship-orientation among the people I’ve met since moving here.
The private equity community is tight knit. Some of the best relationships I’ve made since moving to MSP have been in the private equity, and broader finance community, as there are organizations such as the Private Equity Association of Minneapolis (PEAM) that are focused on building a tight network of like-minded professionals in the community.
Q: You probably spend a fair amount of time traveling in your role. What’s it like getting around the country from MSP?
A: I do travel quite a bit for work. I generally find myself in the MSP airport at least once a week.
We are fortunate to have an excellent airport with a great on-time record. I can say from experience living in Miami, New York, and Chicago that having a nice, efficient airport makes a huge difference for business travel. I predominantly spend my time traveling to the coasts, so living in the middle of the country is really nice because you can get to essentially every major metro in roughly three hours or less, and you can fly direct to most place; I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve had a layover in the past couple of years.
Q: What would surprise people about the financial services market here in MSP?
The biggest surprise for me was the vibrancy of the business community. Candidly, you don’t hear much about MSP from the East Coast, so it was a pleasant surprise to see how many corporations are here and the talent that the city has. It’s a well-educated population with a diverse array of skill sets. From a financial perspective, the quality and depth of middle market investment banking is quite impressive and is sure helpful in recruiting junior level talent for us. I think MSP punches well above its weight class when you consider the number of businesses and significance for certain industries, such as consumer goods and med tech. Planes are packed with bankers and consultants coming from the coasts to call on the blue-chip customers here.
Q: What’s been the biggest change from living in New York?
A: The most obvious difference coming from New York is the size. This was a big concern for me when I moved here; however, I will say what MSP lacks in size, it makes up for in quality. In some ways in reminds me of my hometown of Sarasota when you think about a place that has excellent restaurants, theatre, arts, etc. that would compare well to cities far larger by population.
The second difference is walkability and the ability to get around without a car. My fiancé and her family thought I was crazy when I said I was moving to Minnesota without a car. The good news is that I walk to work, and it has gotten far easier to get around with ridesharing, bikes, and the latest scooter craze!
The final surprise is how much easier it is to enjoy a strong quality of life. The public schools have an excellent reputation, housing is still relatively affordable compared to other major metro areas, and it’s a quick drive to beautiful lakes and other parts of the state that provide a respite from city living. In New York, it was a major mission to get out to the Hamptons or some other area where you could breathe a bit and escape the city.
Q: Have you found success plugging in and making new connections?
A: I’ll be honest, it’s not always as easy to organically build a social network in MSP, compared to other metros, because so many people who live here have roots here already. That’s why it’s important for organizations such as Make It. MSP, and others, because having the ability to create a community is imperative if MSP wants to retain the non-Minnesotans it attracts.
I attended a few MSP Hello events and met a couple of my best new friends through that effort. It also helps to live in the North Loop neighborhood because there are quite a few likeminded professionals who live in the various developments in the area, and the North Loop in particular seems to attract post-business school transplants. While walking the North Loop, I’ve actually run into a few folks from business school or other past experiences that I didn’t even know had moved here!