I am many things, but I am first a scientist. At what is today called Arcadia University, I double-majored in chemistry and mathematics with a minor in physics. I graduated at the top of my class.
Except for an internship at Lehigh University, I never worked as a scientist, but the scientific method infuses my thinking.
I earned a masters degree from Temple University. Yes, I am a Philadelphia boy.
I thought about earning a Ph.D. and becoming an academic, but I was drawn to the practical world of business.
Today, someone with my science and math background could easily find work in finance, but this was 1989. The rise or Wall Street quants was a few years off.
I started taking actuarial exams and accepted an entry-level actuarial position with MetLife. So my first job out of school had me immersed in risk.
I advanced rapidly but soon left to work in investment management at Fidelity Investments. I never returned to the insurance industry, but the actuarial perspective on risk is something I have retained. One of my strengths is the fact that I have worked with risk in so many contexts, embracing the perspectives on risk each one offers.
I remember as a vice president at Fidelity Investments—I worked on the institutional investing side—attending an insurance conference. During a cocktail hour, I introduced myself to an executive. We shook hands and chatted. When I mentioned I was an actuary, the conversation changed. He smiled warmly and said “Oh, let me shake your hand again.” I was one of them—I understood and appreciated the challenges they faced.
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