679: Making a Business Ripe for Investors | Graham Miao, CFO, AgroFresh

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Looking back, AgroFresh CFO Graham Miao says that the decision to change careers early in his professional life was triggered more or less by resource allocation.

Originally, Miao had trained as a biologist, but after having earned a doctoral degree in biology from Columbia University, he quickly found gainful employment as a scientist at a research facility run by pharmaceutical giant Roche.

It was here amidst the daily pursuit of biological insights that Miao began to observe how finance and accounting professionals held sway over many of the resources needed to complete different projects.

“It made you wonder, ‘What is it that accountants know about science that scientists don’t?,’” explains Miao, who after 5 years with Roche returned to Columbia to study business full-time.

“At the time, my boss and colleagues thought that I was being crazy and that it was too risky,” remarks Miao, who notes that the pursuit of yet another degree required that he take out a student loan.

Next, Miao joined JPMorgan, where he worked in equity research and served investment banking clients that were looking to better communicate the “equity story” to investors.

“The pace of the job was completely different from what I was used to as a scientist,” comments Miao, who adds that the discussions he found himself having as an investment banker further revealed to him the breadth of finance’s influence and boosted his confidence in having made the right decision. –Jack Sweeney

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