UHart business students received valuable advice from two distinguished inductees into the University of Hartford’s Barney School of Business Board of Visitors Alumni Hall of Fame on Oct. 27. Jonathan Bennett M’88, CFO and head of strategy for Property & Casualty and Group Benefits at The Hartford Financial Services Group in Hartford, Conn., and Mark Lieb M’77, founder, president, and CEO of Spectrum Asset Management in Stamford, Conn., were selected from more than 18,000 Barney alumni. They were chosen for demonstrating strong leadership with global awareness and a focus on social responsibility.
The two inductees shared their tips for success with students who attended the ceremony in the University’s 1877 Club.
“There are three factors that can determine how happy you are in your career,” said Bennett. “Doing work that is meaningful and challenging, working with people you enjoy, and feeling you are fairly rewarded and recognized for your contributions.”
Bennett earned his Master of Science in Accounting from the Barney School while working as a staff auditor for Arthur Andersen straight out of college. He emphasized education as being essential to his success as a leader, but also credited lessons gleaned from his mother, a fourth-grade teacher. “I can recall her saying, ‘Jon, if you can’t write it down clearly enough for someone else to read and understand, you may not actually understand it yourself.’” As a result, he believes, “The process of writing something down forces one to synthesize facts…thinking is as much a skill as it is a talent.”
Lieb completed his master’s thesis at the Barney School, then built his company, DBL Preferred Management, followed by the founding of Spectrum Asset Management, one of the largest investment advisors in the world. He counts Coca-Cola as his first client, and one that still remains a client more than three decades later.
His esteemed career on Wall Street takes him to Europe and Japan on a quarterly basis, but it is a lesson learned closer to home that keeps him grounded. “If you’re in the investment management business, resources like desks and computers are irrelevant. The key to success is what goes up and down the elevator every night, and that’s people.”
Barney School Dean Martin Roth told students the Hall of Fame event was “meant to create an inspiring culture and environment for you so the confidence you already display will continue to be reinforced and instilled as you make your way through your studies at the Barney School.”
The ceremony concluded with the presentation of Alumni Hall of Fame Scholarships to outstanding Barney School students Tommaso Modugno ’17 and Adam Oresky ‘14, who is currently pursuing his MBA.