Matthew Williams 05BBA in London where he is a vice president at Blue Water Energy.

For some, international exchange can sharpen independence; for others, exposure to a country can kickstart a career.

Matthew Williams 05BBA is a vice president at Blue Water Energy in London, where he’s lived since 2009. His first exposure to international travel came during his junior year at Università Commerciale Luigi Bocconi in Milan, where he took economic and business coursework in Italian. “It gave me my first real taste of Europe, ultimately convincing me to give a career outside the US a go,” he says.

After graduation, Williams worked in investment banking in New York before moving to First Reserve, a private equity firm in Connecticut. When the chance came to take a global assignment, Williams was ready. In 2011, he founded Blue Water Energy, a middle market private equity firm. Williams considers a move abroad critical for students who want to excel in business.

“Having lived abroad for almost 10 years now, I have come to appreciate how the global business community is inextricably linked despite cultural, linguistic, currency, and trade barriers,” he says. “From big, blue-chip companies to small, entrepreneur-led ventures, they all face similar challenges in an increasingly complex, interconnected and, unfortunately, politically unstable world. Within the private equity industry in particular, working across borders introduces further risk, but it provides a number of increased opportunities for our businesses to benefit from geographic diversification and increased scale through new market entry, and it also allows for innovation, by teaching different ways of tackling a challenge or selling a product or service.”