The Diamondback: Alumnus wasn’t satisfied with his law career, so he started his own business instead

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The Diamondback: Alumnus wasn’t satisfied with his law career, so he started his own business instead

Originally Published in The Diamondback | September 17, 2012

Until five years ago, ’95 university alumnus Paul Mandell thought he was living out his dream career as a successful lawyer. But a series of frustrations led Mandell to quit law and start his own Bethesda-based senior-level executive events company, Consero Group LLC.

Consero’s mission is to facilitate conferences where CEOs and industry experts can meet and discuss solutions to problems within their businesses. These conferences are tailored to each company’s specific needs and promote a more casual, one-on-one atmosphere rather than a typical business meeting.

“It’s very laid back and relaxed,” Mandell said. “I never thought I’d be in an office where I could wear jeans and play ping-pong with my co-workers. I’d never want to go back to an office.”

During his years working as a lawyer, Mandell said his firm constantly dealt with unorganized and uninformative company conferences. He said the final straw came in 2010 when he attended a conference expecting to meet the CEO of another company, but instead found himself with the CEO’s assistant.

“It was just really ineffective and frustrating,” he said. “I wanted other companies to come to these conferences, figure out what problems they’re having and actually know they are being helped.”

Consero Group is not the first business Mandell has launched. In 2007, he founded and served as president of Clutch Group, a legal services company, but sold it in 2010. The company has seen great success so far and will be hiring 200 people in the next three years, according to spokesman Mark Pasetsky.

Mandell is also working with aspiring entrepreneurs from his alma mater. Last year, he came to the campus to speak on a panel hosted by the business school’s Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship and the University Career Center.

Senior government and politics major Zach Cohen interned at Consero for the past two summers. Although he is currently applying to law school, Cohen said the experience he gained at the company was so valuable he may consider going back to work there in the future.

“I was working and making an actual difference with my work, like presenting it to the other partners and working one-on-one with Mr. Mandell,” he said. “It was unlike any internship I’ve ever had, and if I can go back, I definitely will.”