Middlebury College: Wall Street’s Secret Weapon
When you think of Wall Street, you often think about B-schools like Wharton, Harvard Business School, and NYU Stern.
But, over the years, a small Vermont college has been making a name for itself in the finance world. Middlebury College, a private liberal arts college in Middlebury, Vermont, has sent troves of grads to Wall Street—so much so that its finance alumni have been dubbed the ‘Middlebury Mafia.’
The Messenger recently explored how the small rural liberal arts college got its namesake and highlighted some of its most famous alumni in business.
A RURAL COLLEGE WITH NO MBA PROGRAM
Located in rural western Vermont, Middlebury College is home to just over 2,700 undergrads. Take a walk around town and you won’t notice much bustle or nightlife. Middlebury students, or “Midd Kids,” are usually busy playing sports, hiking the Green or Adirondack Mountains, or skiing down the school’s private ski slope. And, unlike B-school bastions such as Wharton and Harvard, Middlebury doesn’t even have an MBA program.
“It’s the anti-Wharton,” a senior asset manager who graduated from Middlebury in the early 1990s tells The Messenger. “The people I was in school with that went on to top jobs on Wall Street might have gotten Ivy League MBAs after they graduated, but none of them studied finance while we were there. The school didn’t offer it.”
While Middlebury’s offerings can certainly be seen as “anti-Wharton,” the college is alma mater to a number of top finance leaders, including the likes of incoming Morgan Stanley CEO Ted Pick (Class of 1990), Goldman Sachs President and COO John Waldron (Class of 1991), and former PayPal CEO Dan Schulman (Class of 1980).
SMALL COLLEGE, BIG CAREERS
So, how exactly did a small rural liberal arts college become an incubator for illustrious business careers? The secret is its tight-knit community.
“Everyone knew each other,” another 90’s graduate who works in private equity tells The Messenger. “I don’t know if guys like Pick and Waldron hung out, but I knew Pick and [JPMorgan Private Bank CEO David] Frame and a lot of other people who have big jobs did. If we run into each other, it’s always nice to chat about Midd.”
Several Middlebury alumni who spoke to The Messenger credit the closeness of the college community to the connections and opportunities made post-grad, on Wall Street.
“It was the kind of place where if something crazy happened on a Saturday night, most people knew about it on Sunday morning in the dining hall,” Leland Hart, class of 1991 and a portfolio manager at hedge fund Warwick Capital, says.
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