CEO Interview: Henry McGee

What did you want to be when you were in college?
I arrived on campus focused on a career in journalism. I was also passionate about movies but didn't know anybody in the field.

What was your first job when you were in college?
My first [job] was an assistant at a talent agency and the second was as a clerk in the library at the Fogg Art Museum. But from both of those seemingly unrelated jobs I learned skills that I still use today-how to negotiate, how to catalog and organize and how to listen and look at things closely.

What was your first day on the job like after you were promoted at HBO?
At the very first staff meeting I had as head of HBO Video I noticed a dramatic change… My statements were deemed to demand immediate action... I had to spend considerable time emphasizing that when I asked a question, it was just that-a question, not a dictate.

Besides emphasizing TV on DVD sales, where do you see the future of HBO Video?
Since electronic distribution provides us with endless shelf space for our titles, the breadth of what the consumer will be able to buy will greatly increase.

Any advice for graduating seniors coming into the job market?
If I had to boil it down to three simple rules... the best way to get ahead is to stay fit: flexible, Informed and technologically savvy. Students should be prepared to begin at the bottom and not see any job as beneath them… and appreciate that all careers will be shaped by technology.

When you were in college what did you think you'd end up doing?
I thought that because I had had a summer job at a book publishing company, I would mostly end up on the publishing side.

What was your first day working on The Economist like?
Well, my whole first experience at my summer job there was fantastic. I was working on a self-contained project about launching a bunch of publications on the textile industry and my office was in a glorious building overlooking Green Park in the building that Princess Diana used to live in. I worked on the top floor.

What is the best advice you have gotten professionally?
Make sure you have time to think.

What is the best part of your job?
Working with really clever, bright, funny people.

If you weren't at The Economist, what do you think you'd be doing?
It's hard to answer because I love what I'm doing. But it would be something with a strong brand and a real strength in the marketplace.

What is a goal you have for the future of The Economist?
To continue and maintain its independence.

Roger Berkowitz
CEO and President Legal Sea Foods: a restaurant group with 33 branches on the East Coast

What did you want to be when you were in college?
I was really focusing on broadcast journalism, so I thought that's where I was going to end up… I did a lot of stuff at the college station.

Besides news, were you involved in the restaurant industry at all?
I used to work summer vacations and school vacations in the restaurant. My family had been in the food industry since the early 1900s so the talk around the dinner table was always about food.

How do you decide to go into the restaurant business?
When I finished school, I wanted to take some time off and work before going to grad school. My family had one restaurant and was thinking of opening a second and wanted to know if I could commit to two years. I thought… let's give this a shot and see what opens up.

Any advice for college students?
College is an opportunity to take different courses and find out where your interests lie. I used my news background to get information about the seafood industry.