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Mat Ishbia

From Basketball To Billion-Dollar Business


In this episode

Welcome to In Search of Excellence! We are happy to have Mat Ishbia as our guest today!

Mat is the Chairman and CEO of the United Wholesale Mortgage, the largest wholesale mortgage lender in the United States, which had a $931.9 million net income in 2022. Mat owns 71% of the company shares that are worth $5.9 billion, which places Mat at 156 on the Forbes 400 in early 2023.

Mat and his brother Justin bought a majority stake in the NBA, Phoenix Suns, and WNBA, Phoenix Mercury. Mat was a member of the Michigan State Spartans basketball team that went to three Final Fours and won the NCAA championship in 2000.

He is the author of the book “Running the Corporate Office: Lessons in Effective Leadership from the Bench to the Boardroom”. Mat is also a very generous philanthropist who has given away more than $50 million.

01:26 Mat’s background

- Born in Birmingham, Michigan, in a Jewish family
- His mom was a schoolteacher and his dad lawyer and serial entrepreneur
- From mom learned structure and accountability
- From dad learned good work ethics and taking care of people

04:07 Mat’s life as a kid

- Always competitive
- Didn’t like to lose
- Pretty good at school, loved sports

05:03 Sacrifices are essential for success

- You can’t be good at everything
- Focus and dominate one thing
- Life’s goal should be happiness

09:58 Figuring out what to do as a student

- Expose yourself to as many different internships, people, and networks as possible
- Find what you are passionate about
- Mat has a passion for competing and winning

14:01 How important is having a great personality and sense of humor for success?

- Matt’s basketball career in the Michigan State team
- The most popular guy on the team
- It’s important to be who you are, genuine, kind, and caring
- Every team needs camaraderie, leadership, culture, family atmosphere
- The team is bigger than the person
- A good team needs a balance of talent and chemistry (fit)
- Different roles in Phoenix Suns

19:35 Deciding to choose his future career at 23

- Wanted to be a basketball coach
- Decided to join his dad’s mortgage company
- Applied his basketball experience to the mortgage business

21:57 Is money the number onbe factor when choosing your career?

- Opportunity to grow should be the no.1 factor
- Also your dreams and aspirations
- People focus too much on the money
- Be great and successful in what you do and money will follow

24:27 What's cool or sexy about mortgages?

- Became the CEO of United Wholesale Mortgage in 2013
- Two years later, UWM was the no.1 wholesale mortgage lender in the country
- Mat loves competing, improving, winning
- Be great today and build on that tomorrow

Sandee | Bliss: Beaches

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