Mark Wiseman: Investment in Human Capital

portrait of Mark Wiseman
Mark Wiseman Mark Wiseman is a Canadian investment manager and business executive and an industry-leading expert in alternatives and active equity investments. Among his advisory roles with various organizations, Mark serves as Chair of the Board of Directors of the Alberta Investment Management Corporation, and as a Senior Advisor to Lazard, Hillhouse Capital and Boston Consulting Group.

What is one piece of advice that you would give to someone graduating from university or college?

  • I wish I was graduating from university or college again. It’s one of the best times in life, and I think people that are you know graduating today are graduating in the near future. It’s something to look forward to as it’s a time when a whole new set of opportunities start to arise. I encourage young people to focus on truly doing something they’re passionate about. I am a big believer that if you pursue your passion you’ll work harder at it because you like doing it.
  • If you like doing it and work harder at it it’s more likely that you’re gonna be successful. Secondly, I’m a big believer in being global. And I don’t think enough Canadians are global.
  • In spite of our geographic size, Canada is quite insular. I really think that if you have an opportunity early in your career to study abroad, to live abroad to work abroad, particularly in a place where you’re the other that is a fantastic experience. 
  • That experience will it doesn’t matter where you go that experience will come back and pay dividends in the long run, and the last thing I would say is if you know someone if you’re about to embark on your professional career. Essentially just do what you want to do, but I mean in your career, take risks and that may be taking a job that nobody else wants to do.

What advice do you have for a young person who is really unsure of their passion?

  • One thing I would suggest is that if you don’t like what you’re doing, just change it.  You know it’s not that big a deal. 
  • For example, with Venture Capital, particularly in the U.S.  Failure is okay, it’s almost a badge of honour. So it’s not just failure in business ventures. It could be a failure in your early career.
  • At 1 point I had a job, and you know it turned out it was a big mistake, but I learned a lot from it. I also learned a lot about what I didn’t want to do, which was as valuable in many respects as figuring out what I did want to do. 
  • So it helped to shape my future trajectory. My trajectory would have been a lot different if I hadn’t made that so-called mistake reasonably early in my career.