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Nate’s Notes 88: Luke Babbitt | From Fighter Jets to Finance

By August 28, 2023No Comments

Luke Babbitt

Top Gun Graduate and Founder of Jordan Park

United States Navy Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor program - Wikipedia

I love the lessons Luke shared today.

First, as Luke’s dad taught him, do fun, exciting things early in life where you can make a name for yourself, independent of your upbringing. For Luke, that meant being a Top Gun pilot, flying single seat F/A-18s, which he described as being in a wrestling match, while driving a race car, and playing a video game, all at the same time. Flying fighter jets also meant Luke developed self-reliance and confidence as he learned to land the $70 million aircrafts on a tiny dot in the middle of the ocean, while his performance was broadcast on every TV throughout the ship.

Second, leaving the military, at the top of his game, to attend Stanford Law School was humbling, and taught Luke the value of interacting with people who think differently than him. Specifically, Luke learned the value of not rushing decisions, and slowing down his decision-making process when possible.

Third, when making a choice about a career, solve for the thing you’re interested in. When other service members started talking about Goldman Sachs, Luke had never heard of the firm before. But he soon realized Goldman was full of interesting, smart people, in a dynamic field. By joining Goldman, and later founding Jordan Park, Luke was able to work with some of the smartest, most accomplished entrepreneurs of the last 20 years.

As Yogi Berra said, “It’s difficult to make predictions, especially about the future.” But Luke’s approach to his career was a pretty good bet. Take risks when young, learn from others along the way, and don’t just take a job for the money, but rather prioritize interest and excitement. All simple ideas. Please take them seriously.

Luke Babbitt Bio:

Luke Babbitt is a graduate of Top Gun and served in the US Navy for 10 years as an F/A-18 pilot. He then graduated from both Stanford Law School and the Stanford School of Engineering. After graduation, Luke worked at Goldman Sachs for five years as vice president before founding Jordan Park where he was first chief operating officer and now partner.

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