Wall Street. Madison Avenue. Broadway.
These legendary streets run through the heart of Manhattan. They also evoke the maddening, thrilling spirit of New York City, the epicenter of global finance, advertising and entertainment.
Success in this city is the crowning touch of a career, the confirmation of Frank Sinatra’s line from his classic tune New York, New York, “If I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere.”
McMaster graduates have made it there, and they have done it by embracing the city — its good and its bad — and riding the waves of change in an intensely competitive world.
The commuter: Brad Hardy, MBA ’93 was on the train as usual this morning, taking the 70-minute trip from home in leafy Connecticut to New York’s Grand Central station, followed by a quick walk to his office. He is clearly part of the New York financial hub, but, like him, many of Wall Street’s denizens do not actually work downtown on Wall Street.
Hardy, a senior vice president, global banking for Wells Fargo Bank, says the competitive dynamic is the same, whether you work in midtown or ten kilometres to the south at Wall and Broad. He sees it in the fiercely committed people who ride the trains with him and in the Connecticut town where he lives, which is really an annex of the financial services community. Everyone seems to work for banks, investment banks, and fund companies.
Born in Saskatchewan, and raised across Canada as the son of a banker, he cut his banking teeth in Toronto at Bank of Montreal, after earning a chartered accountant’s designation and an MBA from the DeGroote School. He worked in Chicago and Minneapolis, and then landed in New York, where he quickly adjusted to the pace of life.
There was a paradox in this adjustment – to compete, you must collaborate. It means going from an individual-producer role to being manager of a unit with profit-and-loss responsibility. “That gets you focused pretty quickly. It is pretty stark in seeing how you are doing year-over-year compared with [the budget] plan.”
“For a lot of managers the first reaction is ‘I have to do it all myself.’ That is going to be a disaster. Nobody will want to work for you if you try to do it all yourself. I try to let people who work for me go out and take the lead.”
“They will make mistakes, but over time the good ones will find their footing.”
At 51, Hardy owes a lot to DeGroote and his MBA which helped prepare him for this New York finance life. “I really can honestly say I wouldn’t be where I am today without my Mac MBA.” Today, he is more a manager while others do the fancy analytics. “But the technical finance aspects were building blocks for what I do now.”