Thirty-six-year-old British-born Blythe Masters, whose accent still echoes her origin, went from rags to riches.
The chief financial officer of JP Morgan, who credits much of her success to luck and attitude, spoke with about 60 students yesterday.
"You can't underestimate the power of luck," Masters said. "But luck is something people can help manufacture for themselves."
Masters acquired her first "grown-up job" as an intern with JP Morgan in London after she graduated from high school. English students often defer college for a year, and Masters said that she was penniless at the time and figured that the internship was a way to finance a trip she had wanted to take to Latin America.
Through this experience, she said that she "fell in love with derivatives as a concept" and has continued to work with them for most of her career.
Derivatives are used by companies to decrease risk in their investments.
"It's important to maintain passion and energy in what you do. Don't give up till you find that thing you're passionate about," she said. "For me, that thing was derivatives."
Masters' move from London to New York City in order to pursue her career was a "big, unanticipated change" at the time, she said, owing to her status as a divorced mother with a young daughter.
She didn't let that stop her as she worked her way up the corporate ladder on Wall Street with the help of many mentors.
Masters credited her opinionated and aggressive nature for her success.
"You're responsible for making yourself noticed," Masters said. "You need to habitually be engaged, doing your homework and standing up for yourself."
Dennis Yu, a senior in Wharton and the College, said that he has heard Masters speak before and considers her a dynamic orator. Yu, who is currently considering a full-time job offer from JP Morgan, felt that Masters' story was inspiring.
Wharton junior Ayeesha Sachedina was one of the organizers of this event.
"I'm glad [Masters] was honest," Sachedina said. "These events are not for recruiting but more about what [these leaders] learned through their careers."
The event was part of the Musser-Schoemaker Leadership Lecture Series, which brings in leaders from both the public and private sectors to share their secrets to success.Comments powered by Disqus
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