Until about 20 years ago, there was a significant difference in knowledge between an investment advisor and a client. As this gap has decreased, there has been a shift toward balancing the hard and soft skills advisors bring to the job. Development of those soft skills, those EQ skills, is an essential part of Yale SOM’s curriculum. Technical knowledge and expertise bring you to a certain level of success; empathy and communication allow you to collaborate toward a common goal.
After each class weekend, I bring back two or three things I learned that I can share with my team. Recently, in the Workforce course, we discussed the difference between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. With employees who are only extrinsically motivated, you’re not going to have someone who’s excited to do the work. The best you’ll have is someone who’s OK doing it and gets things done in order to get compensated. But it’s incredibly important on a team to have people with intrinsic motivation who are excited and curious about what they’re doing.
In Modeling Managerial Decisions, we’ve talked about asking the right questions before you begin solving a problem. My dad had a saying: “Don’t just do something; stand there.” There’s a difference between progress and movement. Sometimes knowing where you’re going to go before you start moving is much more important than just moving.
One of the concepts in Judaism is tikkun olam—trying to improve the world. The world isn’t perfect, so we can all make it a little bit better. That’s really the concept behind Yale SOM’s EMBA program: You expand both your skill set and your perspective so that you’ll be able to make an impact on the industry. You even see it in speakers who come to talk to us in the asset management colloquium. There’s encouragement not just to do something to make money, but to do something where you’re purposeful in making a difference. Whether that’s helping people who might be disadvantaged financially or trying to do good for an organization or a city, it’s a consistent theme.
Interviewed on February 1, 2023