Michaela LeBlanc Weber
Consultant, Bain & Company
In the span of 12 months, I went from thinking I was going to chart this really strategic promotion path on Wall Street to moving halfway across the world in a startup role.
Several times a month, Michaela (LeBlanc) Weber T’15 trades in her business suit for a bright orange jumpsuit, hard hat, and steel-toed boots. That’s standard-issue personal protective equipment for the oil and gas refinery where she spends much of her time these days as a London-based consultant for Bain & Co. Once suited up, she walks through the plant, analyzing it for the opportunity to improve processes and to implement digital solutions. “It’s fun to feel like you are getting out and being part of the team,” she says.
Her current job in London is only the latest in a peripatetic career in investing that has taken Weber across the globe. If there is one thing she has absorbed in all of her travels, it has been the power of having a team of people on which to rely. She first learned that the hard way when, after growing up on Cape Cod and studying finance and government at Smith College, she started on Wall Street with a job at Bank of America on September 15, 2008—the day Lehman Brothers declared bankruptcy. “I had the misfortune of starting my career right as the financial crisis was unfolding,” says Weber. “I was shocked, I received good grades, had a Fulbright, a good job, and still things can devolve so quickly.”
Part of a mass layoff from the company, she ended up taking a job at a startup in New York researching Chinese firms and was quickly moved to Hong Kong. Once there, however, she began quickly developing a tight network of other expats, especially with other women in the industry. “Being in a foreign place in a small community a 16 hour flight from New York, you have to be able to lean on people,” she says. To broaden her network, she started training for triathlons—a popular pastime for finance professionals—traveling all over Asia to compete. Her diligence paid off when sitting next to a woman at a finance event, she was recruited into a sales & trading role at JP Morgan.
In Hong Kong, she and her then-boyfriend Chris Weber (a T’15) also met a couple from Tuck who introduced them to others from the school and who impressed her with their warmth and curiosity. “It was such a personal approach with alums really wanting to get to know you as a person,” she says. “I fell in love with the community.” Both she and Chris applied to Tuck, where she got a crash course in finance and strategy while at the same time reinforcing the importance of teamwork. “I wanted to replicate that sense of a network among my classmates and professors and business leaders,” she says. “I really feel like facing my toughest career challenges I have had this network of people to fall back on.”
That network led her after graduation to a job at Goldman Sachs researching oil and gas pipeline companies. While she found the industry fascinating, she wanted to be closer to the ground. When her husband Chris moved to London in 2017, she moved with him, even though she temporarily remained working in her US-focused role. “It coincided with a bunch of Tuck weddings, and as it happened, I caught up with some classmates who were at Bain,” she says. They helped introduce her to colleagues at the consulting firm who were working on analyzing downstream assets in the oil business. Now, she feels like she has found her niche, whether she’s wearing a business suit or a jumpsuit. “It’s rewarding to feel like I am having a positive impact on the workers and the community, versus analyzing the share price of companies from afar,” she says.
As much as she has relied on other people to chart her path, she’s given back as well. While at Tuck, she served as the mentor for a Dartmouth investment club for female undergraduates. Now in London, she is involved with the Tuck London alumni club, helping to plan networking events and speakers, and interviewing prospective MBAs. “I believe you have to try to pay it forward because so many people were critical in helping me chart my career path. It’s rewarding to be part of a community with so many people who put a lot of time into it. It’s a very distinctive part of Tuck versus other peer schools.” Since being in London, Weber has taken up a new sport to integrate herself more into the community—polo. “It’s really humbling,” she says. “Hitting a small ball with the l head of a polo mallet at high speed, you miss a lot.” But she sees similarities between the sport and her career in the business world. “You win by having a team,” she says. “Next season, I have high hopes.”
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