Christopher Petrini-Poli ’95
CEO, HBR Consulting
Finance and International Business Major and Japanese Minor from Deerfield, Ill.
When Christopher Petrini-Poli first applied to Valparaiso University, he was denied because of his lackluster transcript. Instead of accepting the decision, Petrini-Poli drove to campus to meet the dean for an hour-long pitch about why he should be given a chance to succeed at Valpo.
It was the first in a series of risks that have led Petrini-Poli to his current position as CEO of HBR Consulting, the largest consulting company in the legal services field.
“I like to believe anything is possible,” Petrini-Poli says. “The key is to align opportunity, hard work, and ‘luck’ — and often the best way to do that is by doing something different, or unexpected.”
Petrini-Poli’s insistence on attending Valpo set the foundation for his success. After graduation, through a fellow College of Business alumnus, he obtained a position in the consulting group at Arthur Andersen.
“That relationship alone was my launching pad,” he says. “Valpo’s size and community enable relationships to be built in a way that would be more difficult at a larger institution.”
By 37, after several career moves, Petrini-Poli was overseeing the entire consulting services division within Thompson Reuters. He made a pitch to spin his division into a separate, privately held company, which became HBR Consulting.
“My goal when I left Valpo was to be successful at whatever I did and to work hard at it,” he says. “But to have these experiences so quickly in my career, the speed by which I reached some of those roles was much faster and in a different form than I ever would have imagined.”