Alumni Leaders in the Financial World Report on the Economy

By Keith Davis

The good news: the economy is no longer in a free fall the way it was this time last year. The bad news: the tentative return of confidence in the market isn’t to be confused with complete restoration.    

That was the message Marc Weinberg ’80, managing director and head of global liquidity oversight for Citigroup; Chris Lacroix ’79, former partner and managing director with LSV Asset Management and currently a member of LSV’s executive committee; and Kurt Wolfgruber ’72, recently retired as president of Oppenheimer Funds, brought back from the trenches of the finance world and delivered October 10. Entitled “The Financial Crisis: Frontline Perspectives,” the event gave the audience of some 60 students, staff, faculty, and fellow alumni a chance to hear accounts of the recent recession from three alumni who experienced it firsthand. 

The long-term consensus from these experts was that while continued high unemployment and cautious consumer spending, coupled with the increasing national debt, the continuing drop in the value of the U.S. dollar, and the rise of global markets, have put a damper on short-term optimism, long-term recovery from a recession deeper and longer than any since the 1930s will eventually come about.

Students also got some tips on how to find their first job in a difficult market.

“The important thing is not to get caught up with some specific thing you want to do,” said Lacroix. “The business world is a meritocracy. Get your foot in the door, work your tail off, and you’ll be all right.”

“In addition to their presentation, Weinberg, Lacroix, and Wolfgruber opened the floor to a question-and-answer session and stayed afterward for half an hour to answer questions.

“It was very helpful hearing what the three alumni had to say, especially about emerging global markets,” said Jorge Pagoaga ’10, vice president of programming for the Mu Alpha chapter of the national business fraternity Beta Alpha Psi.

Addressing the students as the session concluded, Lacroix said: “I give you all stars for showing up on at 10 o’clock on a Saturday morning.”