Bruno Surpris, MBA
Tell us about yourself
I was born and raised in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. I migrated to the United States at 15 years old. I attended Paul Robeson High School in Brooklyn, NY and graduated with an academic scholarship. I matriculated at New York University’s Stern School of Business where I graduated with a BS in Finance and Information Systems and a minor in French Studies. I began my career at Deloitte & Touche as a Management Consultant working with various clients on systems implementation and process improvement projects. After two years, I joined McKinsey & Company as a Senior Technical Specialist where I implemented system solutions and developed software programs. While at McKinsey, I went back to the New York University Stern School and earned an MBA degree in Operations Management and Information Systems. I subsequently worked for AIG, Fortress Investment Group (hedge fund), Barclays Capital, and JP Morgan where I was Vice President of Private Equity Technology. I spent 4+ years at Moody’s Corporation as an Assistant Vice President where I managed a team of technology support specialists. I subsequently joined Healthfirst as an IT Director and Capgemini as a Senior Manager. I am now a Senior Customer Engineer at Google Cloud where I lead technical sales for enterprise financial services companies.
What led you to pursue your career?
My desire to be in a field that is in high demand as well as my inclination to help others led me to choose a career in Information Technology. I also enjoy the challenge of working in a constantly evolving field where one must adapt to new technologies and processes. Lastly, I love to learn and grow and the learning opportunities are endless in the technology space.
How were you able to get started?
I was part of a mentoring partnership with Salomon Brothers (now Citi) when I was in high school. After my junior year, I secured a summer internship with the firm where I got my first taste of business and working with computers. While pursuing my undergraduate degree, I secured another summer internship at Salomon Brothers where I worked in the Internet Client Services group and eventually got a part-time job. During my senior year, my database professor helped me to secure a part-time job as a systems coordinator at the 1199 Union. By the time I graduated, I had a strong resume with real world experience that I was able to leverage to secure a full-time role at Deloitte & Touche. My high school mentor Manish Gautam connected me to his brother Rahul who helped me to secure the job interview for the Deloitte job so networking was also instrumental in landing my first full-time job.
When did you realize that you were making real progress with your career?
When I secured the McKinsey & Company job I realized I was making real progress with my career. I had much more responsibilities than in my previous job and was making a bigger impact overall. In addition, McKinsey is a very hard place to land a job at as it is regarded as the most prestigious consulting firm on the globe.
What have been some of your professional highlights?
Some of my professional highlights are as follows:
- Implemented cost savings systems for a number of clients that resulted in multi-million dollar savings.
- Improved the accounting closing cycle for a client from 23 days to 5 days.
- Automated various repetitive tasks that saved head counts.
- Developed and implemented a creative system security solution to secure sensitive HR data.
- Recruited, trained, and developed a number of talented technology professionals.
- Built several high performing teams from scratch.
- Managed a global IT support team that consistently received and average of 4.9/5 customer satisfaction score.
- Re-engineered a test environment data refresh process that resulted in a 75% reduction of time taken to complete the process.
- Engaged and educated a Google Cloud customer which resulted in revenue growth of 5,200%+ in 8 months for AI/ML products.
- Obtained PMP (Project Management Professional) and ITIL v3 (Information Technology Infrastructure Library) professional certifications, 2 cloud certifications from Amazon Web Services and 3 cloud certifications from Google Cloud.
What have been some of the challenges you’ve had to face?
Some of the challenges I’ve faced to date include:
- Working with very difficult managers who did not care about my career.
- Working with very difficult colleagues.
- Job loss due to downsizing.
- Difficulty to meet exaggerated expectations.
- Working with very difficult subordinates.
- Difficulty balancing family and professional responsibilities.
- Lack of role models that I can relate to at the upper echelons of the corporate world.
What’s the most important leadership lesson you’ve learned?
The most important leadership lesson I’ve learned is not to ask your subordinates to do anything you wouldn’t do yourself. I enjoy being in the trenches with my team when the going gets rough. This has built loyalty and produced excellent results.
Do you personally know other Haitians in your field?
We currently have 3 Haitian-American customer engineers at Google Cloud that I am aware of (I am the only one who was born in Haiti). I hope that others will join soon! We do have about 80-100 self-identified Haitians at Google in various roles and we have our own group chat where we exchange ideas.
Do you feel as though you’ve helped break barriers?
Yes, I feel that I’ve helped break barriers for Haitians and blacks in general. I was the only black student to major in Information Systems during my undergraduate studies at NYU. In the corporate world, I am frequently the only black person in the room. Blacks are severely underrepresented in the Information Technology profession. This becomes even more extreme at the senior levels.
What do you feel is next for your career?
My immediate career goal is to get promoted to the next level at Google in the next 2-3 years. I am focusing on contributing my time and expertise across the company and landing customer deals that will help me to establish myself at the firm. My longer term career goal is to be a Director at Google.
Did you have a mentor or do you mentor someone else? How has that experience changed you?
I’ve had a mentor since high school whom I mentioned above (Manish Gautam). We were matched during my high school partnership with his company (Salomon Brothers). We met when I was a new immigrant and he helped enrich my life culturally and socially. He took me to college visits and helped me with college applications. He even took me shopping for professional clothes and taught me how to tie my ties properly. His wife helped me buy my first property and they were at my wedding. He is still by my side today and he has had a tremendous positive impact on my life and my family’s life. He recently helped my third son Brandon get admitted to a top boarding school. The guy is just amazing! I’ve also had professional mentors throughout my career. I was matched with a Noogler Buddy when I joined Google named Jimmy Etimos and he has been phenomenal in showing me the ropes at Google!
I am currently mentoring two colleagues on my team at Google and several young men whose parents have asked me to mentor them. It feels great paying it forward and watching them transform their lives the same way mentorship transformed mine.
What would be your advice to young people who want their careers and lives to have an impact?
I can spend a lot of time answering this question but here are a few suggestions:
- Work really hard and do the very best you can in school as it will set the stage for the type of life you will have.
- Choose your friends and associates wisely as they can make you or break you.
- Choose a career that you’re passionate about as this will give you a better chance of being successful.
- Professional networking is essential to success so network, network, and network so more.
- Volunteer your time and give back to your community. You likely had help along the way so it’s great to pay it forward.
- The world is flat and very competitive. Build the strongest resume you can to set yourself apart as a high achiever as much as possible.
- Chase opportunities and not just the money. The money will come naturally if you’re doing what you’re good at and passionate about it.
- Choose your life partner (husband/wife) very carefully. This will make all the difference in the world!
Who or what inspires you?
My mother Marie Leonore inspires me a great deal! She has sacrificed so much for my three brothers and me and continues to do so to this day. She has taught me so many valuable skills and life lessons. The best lesson has been how to love your kids and go out of your way for them. I am teaching my four sons the same lesson by showing them unconditional love and being there for them when they need me and guiding them on the right path – just like mom did for us!
When you’re not working, where can we find you?
When I am not working you can find me eating at a good restaurant with my family, watching a good movie, reading a good book, or playing virtual reality video games.