The second webinar of the Roy S. Pung Executive Speaker Series featured Pete Godbole (MBA ’90), chief financial officer of Hearsay Systems. Joined by Full-Time MBA students, Godbole discussed the evolution of his career, what it means to be the CFO of a successful tech start-up and current issues facing the industry.
“Great careers are built by joining industries that disrupt the status quo,” Godbole said.
Founded 11 years ago, Hearsay Systems has evolved from a small start-up to a successful enterprise. Today, Hearsay is a bustling company that has changed the way advisors help clients. In a constantly changing environment, Hearsay remains dedicated to closing the gap between Silicon Valley and the needs of the industry.
“Yesterday is not a good predictor of the future in tech. You have to ride the wave of innovation,” Godbole said. “Even if the company doesn’t succeed, it leaves you with new learning. As a CFO, you get to learn along the way, and you get to build along the way.”
As highlighted in Godbole’s presentation, Hearsay is constantly focused on investing for the best interests of their clients. “We can invest in one of four areas. We will put resources into selling and marketing, into research and R&D, or invest in our channels,” he said. “As a finance professional, you can help the company react to new data.
“The CFO role is a role where you wear a large number of hats. I manage finance, accounting, IT, compliance, recruiting and people,” he continued. “In that role, you play so many different positions, and you help your company achieve the next level of success.”
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the business landscape is shifting at warp speed, which Godbole commented on. “We realized one thing really fast: you develop plans, you get ready to implement them and then business changes take over,” he said. “You have to be ready to react on the fly.”
Godbole concluded his lecture by saying that Broad Spartans have the capability to positively change the industry. “The timing is incredibly important, and tech firms are hiring MBAs,” he said. “It’s important to reach out and make connections.”
More information on upcoming events in the 2020–2021 Pung Speaker Series, as well as information on past events, is available on the Full-Time MBA webpage.