The Yale SOM MBA for Executives program holds 8 colloquia presentations a year for each academic track (asset management, sustainability, and healthcare). Distinguished practitioners and academics generously share their time with the students explaining their career paths, current work, and answering student questions. One of the goals of the International Center for Finance is to provide students access to knowledgeable and engaging practitioners and academics. Previous asset management colloquium speakers include several ICF Advisory Board Members as well as other Yale alum. Below is a student perspective piece written by current EMBA student, Ellie Campion ’19, who wrote about Gregory Fleming’s recent visit as an asset management colloquium speaker.
December 1, 2017
The Asset Management students were enthralled by Gregory Fleming, a Senior Research Scholar and Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Center for the Study of Corporate Law at his alma mater, Yale Law School. Mr. Fleming is a CNBC regular and one of Wall Street’s best-known investment bankers and executives. One of his many claims to fame was the strategic sale of Merrill Lynch to Bank of America in the midst of the financial crisis. More recently, he helped Derek Jeter purchase the Miami Marlins for $1.2 billion; sports fans in attendance eagerly grilled him for details. In his newest venture, Mr. Fleming will head Rockefeller Capital Management as CEO. Not surprisingly, he has ambitious plans for the advisory business to the ultra-wealthy. However, what made the colloquia especially engaging for me was that Mr. Fleming, as President of Morgan Stanley Wealth Management and Morgan Stanley Investment Management, orchestrated the acquisition of Smith Barney and achieved extraordinary revenue growth at the investment bank while I was there. Hearing his decision-making process firsthand was invaluable.
In addition to sharing insight into his business acumen, Mr. Fleming shared his wisdom on the market, the new business cycle, and the macro effects of fintech. He encouraged the students to be critical of a market driven by euphoria, as evidenced by high asset values across the board. Although he underscored that he was unsure when the next downturn might hit, he believed it would be unlikely that this decade would sail through scot-free given that every decade since 1850 has experienced a recession. The increased speed of innovation adoption and the wealth creation and destruction it fuels has the potential to distort business cycles. He also believes the fintech revolution provides more resources to incumbent competitors in the financial services industry and thus has made the CIO role indispensable at established investment firms.
Mr. Fleming wrapped up with his personal top ten pieces of career advice. One of my favorite non-career recommendations was to watch Dead Poet’s Society. It was inspiring to listen to a Yale alum with great instincts and a wealth of experience who clearly lives carpe diem.