From the Whitt to Wall Street
Closing in on the final season of an impressive career at UNH, Brad Flaishans ’08 landed a prestigious internship for his last summer before the real world came calling. As his assignment at investment banking giant Morgan Stanley approached, however, he got a little anxious.
Morgan Stanley had its pick of the best students from the likes of Harvard, Brown, North Carolina, Duke and Michigan. Flaishans had earned his spot, but was a little concerned with how he was going to stack up in such illustrious company.
“I was nervous and thinking I was going to be so far behind some of the people that went to those schools,” Flaishans recalls.
Not to worry. “I did have some business background and a lot of people were coming to me and asking questions,” he says. “It gave me a lot of confidence about having learned a lot of the core tools while at UNH.”
Flaishans has always stacked up quite nicely against the competition.
He certainly did as a hockey player, coming out of Arizona—not exactly known as a hotbed of the sport—to earn a scholarship at UNH. A defenseman with superb puckhandling skills and awareness on the ice that made him very tough to beat, Flaishans helped the Wildcats average more than 24 wins a season on their way to four straight appearances in the NCAA tournament between 2005 and 2008. He earned All-American honors as a senior.
And he did as an outstanding student in the Peter T. Paul College of Business & Economics, where, senior lecturer in accounting and finance Bill Knowles says, he was a “rock star.”
Though he had a shot at professional hockey after graduation, Flaishans opted to take on the business world instead. He parlayed his summer internship at Morgan Stanley into a full-time position, then moved to the private equity firm Clayton Dubilier & Rice. In 2012, he left to earn an MBA from Harvard Business School and is now back at Clayton Dubilier as a principal investor, working from a $9 billion fund.
And while he loves the work itself — finding companies for his firm to purchase and evaluating their financial viability — he says one of the best parts is being back on a team. “I’m around incredibly talented and really smart people,” he says. “It’s very much a team atmosphere. It reminds me of playing sports.”
Flaishans’ success has not been a surprise to his former coach, Dick Umile ’72.
“He was very, very talented and very driven,” Umile says. “You could see it then, and look at him now. He was smart in the classroom, and he was smart on the ice.”
Knowles seconds that assessment. “I’ve taught probably between 12,000 and 15,000 students in my 25, 26 years here,” he says. “He’s the most memorable and really was just an incredibly gifted student who always asked all the right questions. It was so much fun to teach with him in the class.”
Flaishans considered Harvard, Bowling Green, Quinnipiac and Union before choosing to come to Durham. He was named a Hockey East Distinguished Scholar for making the league’s All-Academic roster each of his four years and earned Hockey East Scholar Athlete awards as a sophomore and senior for league-leading GPAs. He graduated with a UNH Award of Excellence.
Flaishans and his wife, Maggie ’07, live in Manhattan with their infant son, Gabriel. They get to campus as often as they can.
His best UNH hockey flashback?
“It’s kind of a broad memory,” Flaishans says. “You come out onto the ice with ‘Two Step’ by the Dave Matthews Band playing, behind the UNH flag. To me, that’s one of the most exhilarating sports moments I’ve experienced. You do it four years for 20 games a season, and every time it happens it puts you in such a zone. Every time it came on, I was ready.”
Originally published in UNH Magazine Spring 2017 Issue