Brandeis International Business School

Thomas Reedy, MSF'07: Be flexible in your career goals

Thomas Reedy

What led you to pursue an MSF at Brandeis International Business School?

I saw the MSF program as a competitive advantage in achieving my goals. I had a pretty clear idea that I wanted to pursue a career in risk management or quantitative finance. At Brandeis, the environment was interactive — you must speak up, voice your opinions and defend them to get class credit. It was good preparation for the corporate world where teamwork is important and where you need to make yourself heard through credibility.

How did your time in the program help advance your career?

The classes I took with Professor Reitano in Financial Risk Management and Pricing Derivatives positioned me very well for interviews in my field. While most of my electives focused on my areas of interest, the lessons from core courses have enabled me to think more broadly in my job. In addition, the global perspectives grounded in the courses I took have been greatly beneficial when working with colleagues from across the globe.

What do you find most interesting and most challenging about risk management?

It’s a continual learning curve. Even within existing processes, there are new insights to be gained. In risk management we rely on models — and even the most robust models cannot cover every possible eventuality. I graduated in 2007, and a year later, the financial crisis hit. Model shortcomings became evident when risks manifested in unusual ways. A lot has been learned since then, but the most challenging aspect of risk management is still to narrow the gap that comes with “we don’t know what we don’t know.”

What advice do you have for current MSF students looking to establish careers in risk management?

Make sure you have mastered concepts from class and that you understand how to convey technical material in a non-technical way. Utilize the Career Strategies Center in your job search and preparation! Everything that you learn along the way is very valuable. It can be leveraged for your other goals. Be determined but also flexible in your career — if you're at point A and want to get to point B, that path is rarely a straight line.

Master of Science in Finance
Class of 2007

Concentration
Risk Management

Job
AVP and Actuary at John Hancock

Previous Experience
Lead Investment Actuary, Equity Risk Management, Lincoln Financial Grou

Undergraduate Degree
BS in actuarial science, City University of London

Home Country
United States