The Amtrak sleeper option to Charlottesville turned out to be a brilliant idea. I had a mile long list of action items and follow-ups that I had to do and if I had taken the LaGuardia or JFK route to CHO (the airport code for Charlottesville) it would have taken 40 minutes and as many dollars to get to the airport, 40 – 60 in checking in and clearing security, and about 30 minutes on the ground waiting for boarding and the aircraft to get off the tarmac. And since I wanted to spend the first half of Tuesday running back and forth between uptown and the Columbia campus, the only available connections that were still available in the evening were to Richmond.
Richmond clinched the deal. It added another 90 minutes of transit time which reduced the net difference between Amtrak and catching a flight to less than two hours. I could do with two hours of sleep given my acquaintance with the four hour plan. And six hours of solitude in an Amtrak sleeper was just what the doctor had ordered after the last four months. It would allow me time to dwell on the results of the meetings in the last three days, get my follow up emails out and give me a chance to take my first train ride through the country side in 10 years. The last time we did this was just before Amin’s arrival when Fawzia and I trekked down to Morgan Town, West Virginia to see Nawal and Azam Bhai. All I needed was a grilled Panini with pesto and mozzarella and my stock of carrot juice to get through the trip
The day started at 4 am this morning with two back to back breakfast meetings around Columbia, followed by a mad rush down to Madison to meet Frank, then an equally mad rush back to the school to slip into Ralph Biggadike’s final pilgrimage for General Managers. The meeting with Frank was my first with a serious hedge fund manager and he had all the answers I had been looking for the last twelve months. While the numbers are interesting and common, according to Frank, it made much better sense for us to carry on working the banking sector as the primary target. Earlier in the day I had met Courtney, a lucky break since he had run two funds of funds for large public sector endowments and his input helped me ask some of the more interesting questions later on in the day.
I now have four meetings and a talk scheduled in and around Darden, two days of networking around the reunion, three downtown meeting across weekend and the dinner with Shane on Sunday. So far all I have done is refine the pitch based on feedback from friends and friends of friends. Friday, Saturday and Sunday would see the first pitches.