Rebekah Tobias, MD at Marcol

In our ongoing series, important people take us back to their first jobs


Hi Rebekah! Who are you and what do you do?

I’m Rebekah and I’m MD at Marcol. We’re a private investment house and split our strategies between private equity — so healthcare and technology — and real estate — so things like storage, healthcare, senior living, petrol stations and caravan parks.

What was your first McJob?

I’ve been working since 14 because I quickly realised that I needed to make my own money to be independent. My first official job was working at the Dairy Queen in suburban Pennsylvania, age 16 when I was still in high school.

What did you have to do?

Initially, I ran the drive-thru. I love ice cream, so it was perfect for me. I was good at customer service, so I ended up working the counter as well.

What did it teach you?

I found out very quickly that getting ahead in life has nothing to do with exams. Success is based on the social skills you learn that let you form relationships with your bosses and colleagues. Although I was young, I was ambitious and fairly competent, and managed to have a great relationship with my manager who kept giving me more responsibility.

What’s the funniest thing that happened?

I used to have boyfriends showing up to work wanting special discounts. I’d give them a lot of free ice cream and I did get in trouble for that!

How much ice cream did you eat on the job?

Lots! I had ice cream for lunch and dinner, and we were always helping ourselves when the managers weren’t looking.

What skills did you learn that you still use today?

It was all about customer service. It’s the same in real estate today, where you have to build trust and form longstanding relationships. The social skills I learned really played into my future.

Do you look back at that time fondly?

I look at kids today and I think: why don’t you have jobs? My 19-year-old niece is in college and has all her summers free, but doesn’t have a job. I don’t understand the mentality of young people today. I was taught you need to start working as early as possible. It was also my escape route. I wanted to move out as soon as I could, so at 18, I was up and out of there and have never asked for a penny since.

Why is alumni so important to you?

The doors that open tend to be with people you liked working with. It’s less about the company and more about the relationships that get you your next job. That’s why alumni is so valuable, especially for boomerang hires coming back into different roles after realising that actually the grass isn’t actually greener!

What would happen if you tried to work at Dairy Queen today?

I’d better be frickin’ owning it and franchising it! But even if I went back to working on the counter, I think I’d still probably be pretty good. It requires a lot of technical skills, but my customer service skills are pretty good.

How much ice cream do you eat today?

Still a lot! When I’m back in US, every day. A month ago, I went to Chicago to visit my brother who had moved from Pennsylvania and I went to a Dairy Queen there.

If you could go back in time, what one bit of advice would you give yourself?

Don’t take yourself so seriously, don’t get hung up on small things and always try and keep the bigger picture in mind.




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