Todd M. Tomlin ’93, who started his career in investment banking, says he has found his niche in private equity. The honors graduate in finance from Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School told management graduate students and Business Honors undergraduates he preferred math courses in college, but that he is glad he also took some management courses. “The people side of it is the most rewarding, but it’s also without question the hardest thing to manage on a daily basis,” he says. “You have to learn early on how to deal with people across a variety of situations and to help them maximize the talents, both of themselves and also those around them.”


“You have to learn early on how to deal with people across a variety of situations and to help them maximize the talents, both of themselves and also those around them,” Todd Tomlin ’93 told students. (view more photos)

Tomlin was a founding partner of Turnbridge Capital, and currently focuses entirely on investment opportunities in the energy and infrastructure segments. He says his “six-person shop” focuses on companies that are “a Southwest flight away” because of the close involvement required once the group takes on a partnership with a new management team. “We’re more than their financial partners, we’re also their strategic partners,” he says. “We’re a lot more than money, we’re their friend, confidante, mentor … We get to help people with things they don’t know how to tackle and things that could ruin their businesses.”

Tomlin says the first 10 years of his career, working on a variety of financing and advisory transactions and principal investments, helped prepare him for what he is doing now. “The pay is worse, but life is better now,” he says. “In investment banking, every Friday afternoon you’re going to get a call that’s going to ruin your weekend. Now, everything I spend my time on is something I choose to spend my time on. We’re entrepreneurs in our own way, and the risk/return can be very rewarding.”

Once he was on the inside within investment banking, Tomlin says, it quickly didn’t matter where he came from or went to school. “They just cared if I got my work done the night before,” he recalls. “Students from Texas A&M are as well equipped for the challenge as peers from any other school I encountered.”

In addition to a good work ethic, Tomlin encourages students to rack up further advantages by being mobile, especially early in their careers. “If I were you, I would be willing to take advantage of geographic or divisional moves during the early phases of your career; in the process, I think you can experience different people and regions, and broaden your perspectives and long-term mobility,” he says. “Large, global companies, in particular, offer tremendous diversity of experience for those willing to take advantage of such opportunities.”