Welcome to The 6 a.m. CFO, where finance chiefs share how they jump-start their days and engage with the tasks in front of them.
Today, MDH Partners’ CFO Arun Singh discusses the importance of self-reflection, how he supports sea turtle initiatives all over the world, and why Ohio State is a special place to him.
- Invests in commercial real estate on behalf of non-profit endowments and foundations. It focuses on acquiring, developing, owning, and asset-managing industrial warehouse buildings throughout the U.S.
- Founded: 2005
- Size: 26 employees
- Growth: Assets under management later this year will be $2 billion
Weekday wake-up time and the first thing I like to do: I alternate morning routines.
More active mornings include lifting weights or a Peloton ride. But I also recognize the importance of catching up on sleep, self-reflection and goal setting, and staying up to date on a broad range of global events to gain different perspectives to better inform my work.
Coffee, tea, or other morning beverage choice?: Coffee. We have a Jura S8 super-automatic coffee machine that grinds the beans when brewing.
I exclusively drink out of one of my many colorful Bodum insulated travel mugs, which keeps coffee at the ideal temperature, and travel with it to my office.
Workday start time: If this is defined when the laptop is open — it’s 9 a.m. at the office.
I get a later start to the day because I generally work later into the night, or even into the early morning.
The time I send out my first email: Often in the middle of the night, which is an email to myself as a reminder of a new idea or project to tackle.
I rarely send emails to other people before I’ve had coffee.
Best advice for writing an effective email: Adding action items to the subject line, such as “response needed” or “FYI” to help others prioritize or deprioritize what is actionable.
I also believe in the brevity of emails and not sending emails, if a response could be a quick Teams message.
First dashboard I review: None. We are focused on a bottoms-up approach on our portfolio, tackling the daily challenge and constantly solving problems within the portfolio, which results in all of the top numbers solving themselves.
How I structure my morning meetings: I have daily 9 a.m. status meetings, depending on the morning — acquiring new deals, accounting, capital markets, legal, and managing existing deals.
These daily meetings help keep lines of communication open with our teams, allowing them time to discuss challenges and share victories. It also gives me a unique perspective on all aspects of the organization and allows me to offer help in effective, meaningful ways.
Mid-morning snack of choice: My afternoon snack of choice is Fuji apple or Nature’s Bakery Fig Bar (raspberry or blueberry) because I believe in intermittent fasting.
INSPIRATION AND LEADERSHIP
Favorite quote or mantra: Event + Response = Outcome. The event is fixed and the only variable in the equation is your response, which dictates the final outcome.
Favorite leadership lesson: It’s not how your actions represent you, it’s how they reflect on your leaders and stakeholders, and how you make their roles easier.
Ironically, I learned this from a CFO I reported to during a college internship, and has stuck with me ever since.
Something important to know about me that you wouldn’t know from my business bio: My wife and I love supporting sea turtle initiatives all over the world, particularly the Bora Bora Turtle Center and Georgia Sea Turtle Center in Jekyll Island, Georgia.
On my desk, I have two wooden, hand-carved turtles as a symbol of our support of both centers.
What was the last job you did at your company that fell outside your traditional scope of work?: Every day, I do something that falls wildly outside of my job description.
This week, I researched extra strong rare earth magnets and attached covers to the metal vents over several coworkers’ desks. I want everyone to be comfortable in their offices.
A way you manage work-induced stress: Ensuring that every morning I have a quiet period where I have time to myself, without focusing on work, which is when I am enjoying my coffee or landscaping.
Favorite number: 24. I’ve liked the number since I was a child, but I don’t know why.
Most noteworthy items in my workspace: On my desks (at the office and home), I have Ohio State memorabilia — most notably, a signed National Championships helmet and football from 2002, when I was still a student there.
My father taught at Ohio State for over 35 years, and OSU has always held a special place for me. I’m still very involved as an alumnus.
Do you have a pet sitting in your office right now: Yes, but not my own. We have numerous employees who bring their dogs to work, and a few come to sit with me.
It’s a great job perk, especially since I don’t have my own pets, and I don’t even have to walk them.
Favorite app on my phone that is not related to business: Reddit. The app connects people around the world and always has interesting content.
When Reddit Secret Santa was still operating, I was an active participant and I think it is the most interesting social media platform.
When do you take time for learning/reading: I’m always learning! Throughout the day, I read an overwhelming number of articles across a dizzying array of topics. Keeping my knowledge base as broad as possible helps me inform strategies and engage in more meaningful conversations with my colleagues