when Zack was deciding where to earn his MBA, the Kellogg
School, from which Grant had graduated just one year earlier,
seemed the logical choice.
Not that Zack didn't consider
other top-tier schools. But the vibrant Kellogg environment,
coupled with Grant's strong endorsement, sealed the deal for
the younger brother.
"I really liked the
team aspect of learning at Kellogg, and the chance to focus
on a variety of opportunities beyond investment banking or
consulting," Zack says. "There was an interesting
mix of people there from different backgrounds."
Today the Gunds are founders
and managing partners of Coppermine Capital, a private equity
firm outside Boston. The brothers say their shared Kellogg
experience provided a crucial foundation for their success.
"There are so many lessons that we apply every day,"
In fact, it was in Clinical
Rogers' entrepreneurship classes that the idea for what
would become Coppermine Capital began to take shape. In classes
several years apart, the Gunds listened as Rogers and guest
speakers described the risks, challenges and rewards of owning
a business. Both grew intrigued by the notion of working with
After graduation, the two
pursued their individual paths for a time. Grant worked at
an independent record label and then at a venture capital
firm. Zack, meanwhile, worked in business development for
a home networking software company.
early 2001, Zack approached his brother with the concept for
talked about it and realized it was what we both wanted to
do," Zack says. "The question was not if but when."
Now the two work together
to acquire small- and mid-sized manufacturing and services
companies for long-term growth. They say they draw frequently
on their lessons from Rogers' Entrepreneurial Finance
course. "It was all about taking an existing business
and growing it, which is what we're doing every day,"
The Gunds also tout Clinical
Ward's lessons on family business, which Zack says have
been invaluable in guiding the pair past the potential pitfalls
of launching a venture with a brother.
"One thing Professor
Ward stressed was the importance of communication and being
open," Zack says. "It's easy to fall into a routine
and not say if something is bothering you. But your success
depends as much on your ability to communicate as it does
on the financial part of the business."
The Gunds' relationship with
Kellogg continues. Zack will return to Evanston in the spring
to participate in the school's family business conference.
Grant, whose wife, Lara Talbot Gund '97, is also a
Kellogg grad, took part in a panel discussion on family business
at his 10-year Kellogg reunion in May.
The brothers have even inspired
their parents to get involved with the school.
Gordon Gund, founder of Gund Investment Corp.
and an owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers NBA basketball team,
and his wife, Llura, have bolstered the school's entrepreneurship
program in numerous ways.
The couple established the
Gordon and Llura Gund Family Chair in Entrepreneurship in
2002, which is now held by Rogers. Gordon Gund has also shared
his business and life lessons through the school's Distinguished
Entrepreneur Speaker Series.
Blind for the last 37 years,
Gordon Gund is a co-founder of the Foundation Fighting Blindness
and speaks publicly about practicing integrity, overcoming
adversity and building trust.
"I like the team approach
at Kellogg, and the relationships formed with professors and
classmates have been very positive for both Grant and Zack,"
Gordon Gund says. "Both my sons matured and gained confidence
while developing strong business capabilities and excellent
relationships. I was very impressed with the experiences they
enjoyed, and I wanted to show my appreciation."
Those connections with Kellogg
seem likely to endure.
"Kellogg is not just
a two-year experience," Zack says. "It's good at
fostering that family feeling, especially if you meet with
your professors and get to know them and talk to them. You
can have an ongoing relationship with the school."