A Day In The Life Of A Corporate Development Associate At HBM Holdings

Meet Adam Silver, a Corporate Development associate at HBM.  Adam joined HBM as a Summer Intern while attending the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business.  Learn why Adam chose to accept a full-time position at HBM after graduation.


Embarking on a career in can be both exciting and terrifying.  It helps to be able to envision yourself working at a company and participating in the comradery that comes with being a valued member of a team. Having insight into the firm’s culture, what its long-term strategy is focused on, and an understanding of the long-term career prospects can go a long way in making the decision easier.

We had the pleasure of speaking with Adam Silver, an  Associate on the Corporate Development team at HBM about his summer internship and why he decided to accept a full-time position at the firm.

CC: What is your educational background and how did you come across the summer internship opportunity at HBM Holdings?

AS: While attending the Darden School of Business, I was invited to an on-grounds recruiting event that HBM was hosting.  There, I had the pleasure of meeting two associates of the firm and listened to a company briefing that was impressive.  I really liked what I heard and after spending time at Accenture, pre-graduate school, I focused on opportunities with small, specialized firms, particularly those that focused on industrials and manufacturing. HBM ticked all those boxes.

CC: What were your primary roles and responsibilities during your summer internship at HBM?

AS: I was assigned two projects to work on during my 10-week internship at HBM. Each project was unique and provided me with very different experiences.  The first project was for one of HBM’s portfolio companies – Mississippi Lime. During this project, I dug into the details of a life-cycle analysis of the mobile equipment used in its limestone mine.  On a weekly basis, I led meetings with Mississippi Lime’s finance team, mine operations team, as well as senior leaders including the COO and CFO to drive forward the project initiatives. As part of the project, I spent time working in the mine and plant in St. Genevieve, MO which helped me understand the operations of the business.  It was a very exciting project to work on.  Given the exposure to the executive team and the emphasis I saw from all parties through the project, I realized the strategic importance the project had for Mississippi Lime and I was grateful to have been given such an opportunity as a summer intern.

The second project I was involved with was for another one of HBM’s portfolio companies – Tru-Flex.  This was a project highly focused on company’s manufacturing operations, specifically understanding and managing the scrap production process.  The goal was to minimize waste (excess steel and raw material) and work with the plant manager, production line employees, head of operations and plant supervisors to create a strategy to improve the manufacturing process and quality.  This was a unique experience as it provided me with exposure to the entire production process – very eye opening and interesting.

CC: Please describe an aspect of the internship that you found challenging.

Quickly building credibility with multiple stakeholders was a very interesting challenge.  Over the course of 10 weeks I interfaced with senior management as was well as multiple departmental teams within our portfolio companies.  It was crucial to communicate to all parties a structured approach to the project that everyone could buy into.  Consistently being on-site with primary project contacts and providing data backed recommendations allowed us to present a final product to management that everyone agreed upon. The challenge helped me build my leadership and influencing skills.

CC: Were there any assignments or aspects of your internship that you were not expecting but were thrilled to have experienced?

AS: Most importantly, I didn’t expect to work so closely with the senior management of HBM’s portfolio companies on a daily and weekly basis.  I expected my exposure to senior management to be limited to an introductory meeting and a final wrap-up session and that my day-to-day contact would be my direct manager.  I learned quickly that this wasn’t the case at HBM and was thrilled to be given the opportunity as an intern, to interact with professionals at all levels of HBM and at its portfolio companies.

CC: Based on your experience as a summer intern, what characteristics do you believe differentiates HBM from other firms in the space?

AS: HBM’s core is operating industrial businesses and we can really add value after an acquisition is complete.  Portfolio companies are provided incredible support from both a talent management and balance sheet perspective to achieve the goals they need to grow.  Since HBM holds investments indefinitely, decisions are made with a long-term mindset. I feel that this factor truly separates HBM from other firms in the marketplace.

CC: What made you choose HBM when you were offered an Associate position at the firm?

AS: There were two reasons why I chose HBM.  The first was the defined career path. HBM provides the exposure to strategic projects that develop the skills to allow me to become a general manager in one of its portfolio companies. HBM also provided transparency into how my career could potentially unfold, which aligned well with my career aspirations.  HBM constantly challenges me and gives me the influence to contribute in a meaningful way.  The second reason was HBM’s culture.  The team is comprised of people with a diversity of thought and backgrounds who wish to create a collaborative environment.  Everyone believes in HBM’s mission and the potential to build a great portfolio.  They have a clear purpose to achieve great things on behalf of this organization and – just as important – the communities that their portfolio companies operate within.

CC: What has been the most fulfilling project you have worked on as an Associate?

AS:  Thus far it was working through a potential acquisition where I visited the business, met the management team and made investment recommendations to the CEO and CFO.  This was an extremely educational experience.  With this specific project, I was able to entrench myself in the industry and the operational nuances.  It proved to be a steep learning curve that was quite challenging but also very exciting.

Any deal I work on requires me to learn a business and industry quickly.  I find this exciting and challenging.  The due diligence work I did to help prep our team appropriately understand the business, the industry, and to speak intelligently with the management team was overwhelming.  I worked directly with our CEO and CFO to evaluate the business and make a recommendation on how to move forward with the potential acquisition.  Given it was one of my early deals with HBM, I was not positive if I took the correct approach.  But the feedback I got from my team on the level of analysis I provided everyone and the sophistication we showed in the process were a direct product of the preparation I did in the process.  It gave me confidence moving forward in future deals and has helped me be vocal for deals which I want to strongly advocate for.

CC: What has been the most challenging aspect of your current role?

AS: As an associate at HBM, it is stressed that we need to keep a strategic viewpoint while executing on daily activities. The most challenging experience I have encountered thus far has been picking my head up from the details and viewing my various projects from a high-level, strategic perspective.  Learning how to step back from the day-to-day to visualize how each business fits in with HBM five years from now takes time and practice. The responsibility is immense and requires you to learn quickly.