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From the Football Field to the Board Room


Pete Hess is the president and CEO of Advent Software, which provides clients with mission-critical applications to meet the demands of investment management operations around the world. As part of an ongoing series meant to promote how the benefits of participation in college sports extends beyond the playing field, NCSA asked Hess how being a college athlete shaped who he is today.

What college or university did you attend?
Princeton University, class of 1993

What college sport did you play?
Football and Rugby

What are the most important lessons you learned through sports?
Teamwork and accountability to my teammates. There is no better motivator than the commitment you make not to let your teammates down. There’s no better thrill than winning as a team when everyone gave their best effort.

What did you learn through sports that your “formal” education did not teach you?
My formal education was more of an individual accomplishment. I enjoyed the experience of learning to question and think critically, as well as organizing my thoughts and communicating well. That is what my formal education gave me. My experiences in sports, however, taught me the importance of respecting others — opponents and teammates — and believing in myself so that I could be as good as anyone else. More so through sports than my formal education, I gained more confidence in myself and an appreciation for hard work.

How is business like sports?
Business is a team exercise. At Advent Software, we engage as many as 20 people to deliver on our commitments to any given client. Everyone plays their role and if they do not deliver, everyone else’s work is for naught. I have been attracted to my profession and company because of its high stakes and team orientation. The commitment everyone on the sales, services, delivery and engineering teams must make to one another to deliver the best results is motivating. The team nature of our business makes our successes more gratifying.

How have sports helped you become successful in your field?
In high school football, I started to understand what being a good teammate and a leader meant. I loved the idea of leading by example and have tried to do so in my business career, as well. It is a pre-requisite to any great leadership.

What advice do you have for student-athletes?
Do not quit! Your athletic experiences will give you a lifetime of pride and positive reflection. Most importantly, you will be better able to face down future challenges and lead others as a great teammate in business because of all the hard work you are doing now.

If you’re an athlete interested in following in Pete’s footsteps and succeeding in life by playing collegiate sports, then click here or call 866-579-6272 for a free evaluation with an NCSA Collegiate Scout

About the author
Aaron Sorenson