The King of Capital


On April 4, 2018, Steve Schwarzman, CEO and Co-Founder of Blackstone, visited Durham and met with a small group of Duke students. In a room comprised of Duke Law, Fuqua MBA, and Trinity College students, Steve hosted a wide-ranging conversation to discuss all things life, career, politics, and Blackstone. Here are some of the highlights:

Life / Success

“Anybody who’s successful didn’t get there without pain.”

“You don’t get very successful by being simply a dutiful person.”

“Never accept the word ‘no’ … if they say ‘no’, then they didn’t really understand your argument.”

“The accident of when you are born makes a huge difference.”

“You will never be successful just doing the same thing … [you] have to keep evolving.”

“My life is still accelerating, which is a little unsettling.”

“Whenever you’re successful, don’t be overconfident.”

Politics / China

On considering a career in politics: “Why would I ever want to do that?”

On current tariffs/trade war situation with China:

  • “What you’re seeing is the maturation of China.”
  • “[So far, this has been an] odd first date … this is set up to go to a negotiation.”
  • “Will be market openings in certain areas.”

On Trump and the middle class: “Nobody knew that half of all Americans couldn’t write a $500 check. We thought that everything was fine.”

Career / Blackstone

“If you’re thinking about founding something, don’t do what everyone else is doing. You need to have your own idea.”

“Consider how big the place is … [When I joined, Lehman was only] 500 people – knew everyone by sight. When it died – 30,000 people.”

“[At Blackstone] we never started anything that didn’t address a huge opportunity.”

“It’s critical that you hire 10s … we love 10s at Blackstone.”

“We want to be the best in the world at whatever we do … otherwise, why do it?”

“In 5-10 years, Blackstone will double in size [by profits] and we’ll be bringing what we do to more people.”

“Be aware that the world owes you nothing.”

“There are no brave, old people in finance.”

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