CohnReznick Advisory Group
What do you do professionally?
I work in management consulting as a Managing Director in CohnReznick's Advisory Group, where I help businesses improve and protect their profitability, cash flow and enterprise value through the strategic application of technology.
What is the most enjoyable part of your job?
The fact that there is never the same day twice, and that we work with so many different types of companies in such a large number of industries make this role enjoyable. Even better, we work on issues that really matter and make a real difference for businesses.
What is the biggest challenge you face?
The biggest challenge that I face is educating CEOs about how significantly a rational strategy for the use of information technology can impact their business. There can be tremendous value in realizing the differentiating potential of IT, but it can sometimes be a challenge to overcome the credibility gap that often exists between IT and other executives.
What sorts of interesting places has your position taken you? Do you have a favorite?
It's impossible to pick a favorite, but I have been very fortunate to have worked in a lot of interesting places. I once spent two years overseeing information security for the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece. Besides being a beautiful place, that engagement presented a lot of unique challenges and was a lot of fun. I have worked all across the U.S. with many types of organizations, and also outside the country in places like Italy, Chile, Mexico, and Japan, to name a few.
What is the best professional advice you've received?
Also tough to pick, I have had some great mentors who have given me a lot of great advice, (if only I had followed more of it!). I think I would have to go with "hope is not a strategy," or maybe "nothing happens until you sell something."
Aside from your current role, what is your dream job?
There aren't many other things that I would rather be doing. I'm really passionate about helping companies be better. But I do sometimes think, when it's time to retire, about doing some more teaching at the college level. I have been in the classroom in a few universities as a visiting executive or adjunct instructor and really enjoy those moments when you help someone understand something they might have struggled with previously.
What do you like to do outside of work?
My six-year-old twin boys take up much of my time outside work, though fortunately spending time with them is my favorite thing. I also am an avid SCUBA diver, mostly diving on shipwrecks. I also enjoy cycling, boating, water and snow skiing, and of course I am a huge Duke basketball and football fan!
What is the most important thing you learned during your time at Fuqua?
This is also the thing that affirmed that Duke was home for me, and that I picked well when selecting a business school. Former Fuqua Dean Blair Sheppard, in a conversation we were having in China about the differences between Duke and other schools, once told me something to the effect of "we do things differently, we're a little crazy." So I would have to say the most important thing I learned, and to add to what Dean Sheppard said, is that it's okay to be different, even a little crazy, as long as you're really good.
Who was your favorite professor?
This is absolutely impossible and unfair to pick as without exception every professor I had was fantastic. Some did stand out however for different reasons, and I would have to mention Peter Wilson for putting in countless extra hours making sure that everyone not only thoroughly understood Accounting but also enjoyed it; Ronnie Chatterji for being exceptionally intelligent and thinking quick on his feet; and Nikos Vettas and Dan Ariely for being the two funniest economists I know.
What is your favorite Fuqua memory?
My time at Fuqua was so incredibly enriching that I took a thousand great memories from the experience. Some of my favorites (now) were the long hours that my study team spent working on some case or paper which was a great bonding experience, while also being educational. I enjoyed observing how people from different cultures respond to stress and challenges; traveling all over the world with such great faculty and classmates and having the opportunity to spend time with them in professional, academic, and social situations. The relationships that I developed at Fuqua are ones I hope will last the rest of my life. And of course being able to use the Black-Scholes model to value options. (I'm just joking about that last part).
What does Team Fuqua mean to you?
Belonging to a world-wide community of high achieving professionals who share a common bond.