A question and answer session with Michael Driscoll.
I would like students to feel empowered by their Adelphi degree. I would like students to be proud of some of the Adelphi alumni that have gone before them and to recognize that their education is just as good as anyone else’s.
Please give us a brief overview of your background, area of expertise and research.
I worked as a trader on Wall Street for 27 years. I received my undergraduate degree from SUNY Maritime in 1982 and began working at E. F. Hutton & Co. that fall. After a few months of working, I realized that I should probably get something called an M.B.A. and began taking classes at Adelphi in the fall semester of 1984. I finally received my degree in 1989.
Working as a trader at some of the largest investment banks in the world, including Smith Barney; Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette; Credit-Suisse, and Bear Stearns, I came to realize that business had reached a point where we were only recruiting from schools that had the biggest reputations in the country, if not the world at large. This was funny because most of us doing the interviewing were from the types of colleges and universities that we were looking down our noses at during the interview process. But I always maintained that an aggressive, street-smart student was more suited for the world of finance than some of the incredibly accomplished recruits that we seemed to be hiring in those days.
What made you choose to teach at Adelphi?
I had been on the Board of Trustees since 2006 and had gotten to know President Scott and the senior staff of the University pretty well. I had seen the transformation that took place at the University from the mid 1990s til now. When I decided to leave the hedge fund that I had been working at for three years in January 2010, I discussed things with President Scott and some of the other senior staff members and mentioned that I considered doing something in higher education. They structured a role for me that would allow me to do several different things here at Adelphi. I teach two graduate courses, advise the undergraduate Finance Society, assist in coaching the men’s golf team, work on projects with the advancement and alumni offices and advise undergraduates.
What has been your experience so far?
So far, so good I think. I enjoy what I am doing and the students that I have in class seem to respond well to the “real world” experiences that I try to bring to the classroom. Theoretical finance is a pretty dry topic. By incorporating “Wall Street war stories” into some of my lectures, I think it helps to humanize the industry a little.
What do you wish to contribute, what do you feel strongly about in regards to teaching or in your specialization?
I would like to show Adelphi students that they can accomplish anything that they set their minds to. Wall Street and the entire financial services industry has become an incredibly competitive space over the last 10 years. Adelphi has produced a number of very successful alumni in the industry. Getting some of these people to come back and perhaps inspire a new generation of successes is so important. One thing that always impressed me in my career was how some of the “bigger name” schools always took care of their younger alumni. I would see older more established alumni of these schools come by and introduce themselves to recent hires and have them for breakfast or lunch. I tried to do some of that when I was working, but Adelphi, in general, had done a poor job of this in the past. We have 60,000 alumni in the metropolitan New York area. We should be doing a better job of connecting with one another. It has gotten a lot better over the last few years, but we have along way to go. Those of us that do attend some of these functions see it all the time. “What are you doing here? I didn’t know you went to Adelphi!” I am as guilty as anyone else. For five years at Bear Stearns, I literally worked side by side with a guy I was friendly with and had no idea we were both AU alumni until he wore an AU baseball shirt to a company softball game one day.
What do you wish to impart to your students?
I would like students to feel empowered by their Adelphi degree. I would like students to be proud of some of the Adelphi alumni that have gone before them and to recognize that their education is just as good as anyone else’s. I think that, in general, we Adelphi alumni feel compelled to prove that we are just as good or better than anyone else. This isn’t particularly a bad thing. Use that edge to out-work and out-think your competitors.
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