Interview with Mike Lester of Summit Alliance LLC

Interview with Mike Lester of Summit Alliance LLC

Samantha McIntyre (University of Texas – Dallas, USA) and Joseph Bell (University of Texas – Dallas, USA)
Copyright: © 2014 |Pages: 6
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-5840-0.ch015
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1. Where did you grow up? Do you think that it has any impact on your life’s work?

Pikin, Illinois. The city fathers were geographically challenged, thinking that if they drilled a hole straight through the earth they would come out through Peking, China (Now Beijing).not realizing they were both in the northern hemisphere. Pikin had a populace of around 20,000 people, and was very middle class to lower middle class. My parents, as well as all the parents of my friends, were constantly talking about the lack of money. How were they going to pay the bills, like the mortgage? Money was a constant topic. I watched my dad work very hard to support his wife and five kids, and constantly struggle to make ends meet. My dad had several jobs growing up; he and my mom owned a restaurant that later failed. His best job was as a car salesman.

2. Where did you go to school? Why there?

I went to Bradley University in Peoria, IL. I graduated with a BS in management and finance. My dad was one of thirteen kids, and he was one of the youngest. I was the first one of that entire generation to go to college. It was a private school, it was known in IL as being an exceptional school. It had small classes and I felt I would do better in a more focused environment. Clearly, they didn’t see the relationship between education and earnings power. The next kid to go to college was my brother, Bill, eight years later. I helped put him through college.

3. What did you do after your first degree (if second degree, where was that done, what did you do after that?) How did you get into your first major area?

I had three options:

  • 1.

    Applied and been accepted to three different law schools

  • 2.

    Offer from Bradley for a free proctorship. Non instructional program. I would have gone to be a professors assistant, and in return they would have paid for my MBA

  • 3.

    Had an offer from Randy Rogers to become an Institutional Stock broker with Prudential Securities.

I took the stock broker job because I had just put myself through four years of private school by working on railroad, literally laying railroad in the summers. That’s how you learn what hard work is. I thought I would work a while and go back to get my MBA or go to law school later. My career as a stock broker took back and I never made it back to school to get my MBA or law degree. At the time in 1983, the unemployment rate was 9.6%. There were very few jobs in banking/finance. I had an offer from Citizens and Southern bank, and I would be making $18k, that’s how bad it was. Commercial real estate, stocks and bonds or commercial insurance were where the real money was to be made. If I couldn’t have found a job in one of those areas, I would have taken a semester off and found my way back to law school or Bradley. I came to find out I had a proclivity towards securities, it came to me naturally. My first full year out of school, I made over $100k. I never thought about an advanced degree again.

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