Wharton Management Club hosted former White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci for a discussion on the field of finance and modern political moment on Feb. 11.
About 90 students gathered virtually to hear Scaramucci, who is the founder and current managing director of SkyBridge Capital, deliver insights regarding his blue collar background, initial experiences entering the finance industry, and general advice for young business students preparing to enter the workforce.
At the event, Scaramucci also offered his thoughts about the legacy of the Trump administration, from which he was famously fired within ten days of being appointed.
Scaramucci began the event by speaking about his childhood growing up in a middle-class family from Long Island, N.Y., as well as how he began his finance career at Goldman Sachs. In 2005, Scaramucci founded Skybridge Capital, a multinational hedge fund that manages over $7.7 billion in assets, and has since resumed his role with the company.
Scaramucci then spoke about his time working in the Trump administration, which he now claims to have been a “catastrophic mistake.”
“The guy's clearly nuts. I obviously did not expect [Trump] to do what he did. No, I didn't think he was going to call for an insurrection and a domestic terrorist event, none of us thought that, so it is embarrassing that I worked for him,” Scaramucci said. “As I tell my kids, it's okay to be wrong. And it's okay to get things wrong, but it is not okay to stay wrong, and so I own my mistake.”
Scaramucci also referenced a 2017 New York Post column, which reported that Deidre Ball, former vice president in investor relations for SkyBridge Capital and Scaramucci's wife, filed for a divorce as a result of Scaramucci’s “naked political ambition.”
“My wife didn’t want me to work for [Trump], and she was right, and I was wrong — and so we almost got divorced as a result of that. But we love each other, and we patched it up, so I'm focused on my marriage. Like I told somebody the other day on CNN, I'm running for re-election in my marriage,” Scaramucci joked.
A lifelong Republican, Scaramucci also spoke about the future of the GOP during the event.
“Right now, the GOP is basically RIP, as in, like, 'rest in peace.' The party is completely fucked up. These are a bunch of jackasses [running the party,]” he said.
He emphasized that the nation must restore its government and public service to America's principles.
"No matter how much money you think you can make, if your whole society is deconstructing around you, you're just going to live in a barbed-wire security compound in your McMansion while your fellow neighbors are struggling," Scaramucci said. "I don't want that for you [students], and I don't want that for my kids either.”
College senior and former president of Wharton Management Club Theodore Yuan, who helped organize the event, said that one of his biggest takeaways was Scaramucci’s emphasis on pursuing opportunities that students are most passionate about, rather than just what seems most impressive or respectable to their peers.
He said that while Penn students' professionalism can be a positive trait, it can also lead students to lose track of what they are truly interested in.
"[Scaramucci's] speech reminded us that the best way to achieve success is not by simply following in the most common path, but by charting your own path and staying true to what you're most passionate about," Yuan said.
College senior and Wharton Management Club member Owen Voutsinas-Klose agreed, saying he valued Scaramucci's advice about owning one's mistakes and growing from them — rather than dwelling on career-related failures. This was exemplified by Scaramucci’s reflection on briefly working for the Trump administration, Voutsinas-Klose said.
"Knowing when you’ve made a mistake and being honest about that, rather than just trying to defend yourself, I think, is a really great quality to have," he said.
Voutsinas-Klose added that given Penn’s notoriously pre-professional and hyper-competitive atmosphere, students could really benefit from Scaramucci’s take on career setbacks.
“In a school where people always want to be perfect and always want to have the best job and do the best work, it’s good to remember that being fired, making mistakes, and having setbacks is something we shouldn't sweat too much,” Voutsinas-Klose said. “[Scaramucci] reminded us that we should focus on picking ourselves back up and keeping going, and I think that is a great thing for students at Penn to hear.”
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