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Bobby Henebry, ME 2003, MBA 2006
Bobby Henebry, ME 2003, MBA 2006

For Bobby Henebry, hard work and the Georgia Tech alumni network helped start a successful career

The secret of success in life, to quote Benjamin Disraeli, is for a man to be ready for his opportunity when it comes. For Bobby Henebry, ME 2003, MBA 2006, opportunity came in the form of a guest lecturer at one of his MBA classes — and he was ready.

A native Atlantan, Henebry was a standout at McIntosh High School in Peachtree City, Georgia. He played defender for the local recreational soccer team and played saxophone in the marching band as well as in a friend's ska band, held a part-time retail job and, by virtue of hard work, maintained excellent grades, ranking 14th academically among the 500+ graduating students in his school.

He applied his work ethic and enjoyment of learning at college, but soon discovered that the Georgia Institute of Technology was a different animal compared to high school.

"Georgia Tech tested me more than I had ever been tested in my life," Henebry said. "There were many times when I walked home after a physics exam saying to myself, 'What on Earth am I doing?!'" Still, Henebry acknowledges that "Tech was a great experience for me."

Henebry earned his undergraduate degree with high honors in mechanical engineering in December 2003. A few weeks thereafter he received a letter from the Tech business school, noting that many engineers boosted their career prospects by obtaining an MBA. Still unsure of his career path, Henebry took the advice and nine months after walking across the stage to receive his undergraduate degree, he enrolled in Tech's Full-time MBA program at what was then called the College of Management.

"I didn't want to have a career in a niche engineering job," he said, "and I had ambition to rise in whatever company I joined. I was interested in understanding how businesses worked, so I thought enrolling in the business school was a good idea because I was still in an academic mode. I also thought that an MBA would give me more degrees of freedom in my career."

Henebry opted for an MBA with an entrepreneurship focus, and worked as a graduate research assistant at the Georgia Tech Research Corporation's Office of Technology Licensing (OTL).

"So here I was, studying entrepreneurship while holding a paying job where I was learning about intellectual property and how deals are made. I felt very lucky to have such a great learning experience that complemented my MBA classes."

One afternoon in the spring of 2006, with graduation day drawing close, a guest lecturer named Garnett Keith, IE 1957, spoke to one of Henebry's classes. The Georgia Tech alumnus was founder, chair and CEO of SeaBridge Investment Advisors, headquartered in Summit, New Jersey. Keith, who earned his MBA at Harvard Business School, was well-known on Wall Street, having served as chief investment officer at Prudential for a dozen years and as a member of several investment committees. He was also the first investor to put $100 million on behalf of Prudential in Blackstone, the global investment firm.

"He said, 'I have this little firm — there's 10 or 12 of us in it — and I need a talented all-around person who is willing to perform a variety of assignments as needed and learn about investing,'" Henebry recalled.

"I thought that was a pretty good deal," he continued. "I could get some personal mentoring from a really high-quality, top-notch executive. It was a small company, which appealed to my entrepreneurial instincts as well. As Garnett put it, 'the golden ring only swings by once in life,' so I seized the opportunity he presented and have been holding onto it ever since." Nine years later, Henebry serves as vice president of research in SeaBridge's growing Atlanta office. He also owns a small stake in the company.

The firm assembles listed security portfolios for high-net-worth individuals, family offices and foundations, and provides some financial counseling when appropriate, according to Henebry.

"We also build relationships with financial planners, accountants, lawyers and other intermediaries to grow our business and help clients achieve their financial goals," he added.

Henebry's responsibilities include assisting with research for certain in-house investment strategies, monitoring private equities and hedge funds for some family office clients, helping clients with asset allocation, developing relationships with prospective clients and working on various business development projects.

"SeaBridge has turned out to be a wonderful learning experience as well as a platform for me to apply some entrepreneurial lessons in growing a business that serves our clients well — the building blocks of which I learned through the MBA program at Tech."

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Susan Ambrosetti
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