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Kerry James, SB '95, MBA '01

Christopher Reichert, MOT '04, chats with Kerry James, SB '95, MBA '01, about what it means to be a Sloan alumna. Kerry is currently the Director of International Distribution at Boston Partners Global Investors, Inc.

Sloanies Talking with Sloanies is a conversational podcast with alumni and faculty about the MIT Sloan experience and how it influences what they're doing today. Subscribe and listen on Apple Podcasts, Google, and Spotify

Christopher Reichert: Welcome to Sloanies Talking with Sloanies, a candid conversation with alumni and faculty about the MIT Sloan experience and how it influences what they're doing today. So, what does it mean to be a Sloanie? Over the course of this podcast, you'll hear from guests who are making a difference in their community, including our own very important one here at Sloan. I'm your host, Christopher Reichert.

I'm a 2004 graduate of Sloan for the Management of Technology program. And Kerry, welcome.

Kerry James: Thank you very much Christopher, good to be here.

Christopher Reichert: Tell us a bit about yourself, where you have worked in the last few years and what program you came from.

Kerry James: I came from the MBA program out of the class of 2001, and I currently work at an investment firm called Boston Partners here in Boston, and I do international sales, non-U.S. sales, so I travel quite a bit. I've been working with Boston Partners for 11 years in a variety of roles but I didn't start out in the investment business after I left MIT Sloan. I actually went to Goldman Sachs and started on their sales and trading desk and did research sales for a while, before going over to consulting for a bit and then coming back into the asset management business.

Christopher Reichert: So that was 2001 when you went to New York City and Goldman Sachs?

Kerry James: I actually was here in Boston with Goldman Sachs, starting in 2001. I spent two years on their sales and trading desk here.

Christopher Reichert: Interesting, and what did you do before Sloan? What led you to Sloan?

Kerry James: Before Sloan I was at Morgan Stanley doing sales within their insurance area, Morgan Stanley asset management, doing sales. And after working there for about four years I decided I wanted to do something a little bit different and I had already started the CFA, or the Chartered Financial Analyst designation program, and wanted to get an MBA in addition to that. So I looked at Sloan, I looked at a variety of other places of course, but I had gone to MIT as an undergrad, so Sloan was on my list because I was very familiar with it. But I really made a lot of sense for me to come to MIT Sloan because I really felt like it just fit for me at the time.

Christopher Reichert: So, you're a lifelong MIT community member?

Kerry James: Yes, I like to say that only one school asks me for money.

Christopher Reichert: All right, so what was your undergraduate degree and did that factor into what you do now?

Kerry James: No, my undergraduate degree is in marketing, management science marketing, and I have a minor in chemistry, so the minor in chemistry comes into my baking, but otherwise does not come into what I do every day. I went into the asset management business after undergrad, but then explored other areas of finance and management consulting before coming back to the selling aspect of the business later.

Christopher Reichert: So, in the end you chose Sloan. Where else did you consider?

Kerry James: I applied to Harvard—I applied to HBS. I applied to Stanford. I got waitlisted at Stanford, I got waitlisted at Harvard, and I applied to NYU and basically decided I did not want to be poor in New York City. That did not sound attractive to me.

Christopher Reichert: Great city to be rich in, right?

Kerry James: Yes, I was already living around New York at the time as well, so it wasn't enough of a change.

Christopher Reichert: Right, yes. Where did you grow up originally?

Kerry James: I grew up in Southern New Jersey. I like to call that the “Garden” part of the Garden State. I grew up amongst peach orchards and Brown Horse Country and that kind of thing.

Christopher Reichert: It's beautiful down there.

Kerry James: Yes, it's quite beautiful down there, but I was also one of those people who was like, “I need to go out and see the world.” When I was in high school, I went on this trip to France with the French class and that got me started in really loving Europe. When I came to Sloan, I went on a trip to China in my first year and that was an amazing experience, not only because you got to spend a lot of time with a group of your classmates and trying to get to know them better, but understanding a lot of things about the world economies.

We met a lot of companies. We got to see a lot of local people and it really changed my world in terms of thinking about what's going on beyond the borders of America, and that really led me into consulting as a career, just really to expand those borders and work elsewhere, work outside the United States. And now my current role, I focus on all of our business development outside of North America. After having lived in Europe for eight years, Sloan was the start of that really.

Christopher Reichert: Where did you live in Europe?

Kerry James: I lived in Paris, London, and Rotterdam.

Christopher Reichert: Excellent, do you speak any other languages? Did you pick up any?

Kerry James: French is my best second language. I'm pretty good in French. Some people say I'm modest about it, but I feel like I'm pretty good and occasionally I'll do meetings in French, but it's so hard, it's like taking an exam every time you do.

Christopher Reichert: How did you find living over there as opposed to visiting? You were there for eight years you say?

Kerry James: Yes, I was in Europe for eight years. The lifestyle is different, the pace feels a little different, but there's a lot of very interesting, smart people trying to do a lot of cool things in the world over there. Actually, when I was over in Paris, I got involved with the MIT Club of France that did a lot of events around Paris, and it's amazing to hear about the entrepreneurship and just what people are dabbling in, in addition to their regular jobs there, which was also fascinating. But from a cultural standpoint, no one said anything when you said, "I'm going off for two weeks on holiday,” “I'm taking off for three weeks to spend time in the States." No one even batted an eye about it. So it just has a different feeling. And the main thing that I noticed when I came back was that our portions are so big, it's really hard.

Christopher Reichert: Yes, I lived overseas in Australia for 14 years and I noticed the same thing. At first you resist it and say, "I'm going to leave half of that behind," but it gets harder and harder. All of a sudden a Starbucks venti seems normal, right?

Kerry James: Exactly. And actually that was one of the funny things after spending so many years abroad, you come back and people say, "Well, what do you think is really different?” Yes okay, the pace or whatever about your work environment is different. But what I noticed most was the food sizes, the portion sizes are so much bigger and the coffee was… if you went to Starbucks in London or Paris, it doesn't seem like the same size as when you come here to America.

Christopher Reichert: Twice the price, but-

Kerry James: Twice the price, but definitely a different size.

Christopher Reichert: So, have you been back to Asia since then, and what year were you there, was it 2001?

Kerry James: When I first went to China, it was the beginning of 2000. And the second time I went to China, and in that trip,  we went to Beijing, Shanghai, and Hong Kong, and the second time I went to China was 2009, so nine years later. I was really excited because I found my picture book of that trip in 2000, because we actually had like regular pictures and like a digital archive. And I kept a travel journal, which I almost never do anymore. But I kept this travel journal, and I remember thinking about how many bikes there were and how many people there were. Now there are a lot of people, but there's a lot more traffic, that's cars instead of bikes and mopeds and things. And it was pretty fascinating when I went back in 2009. I was back in Hong Kong earlier this year briefly, and it's an ever-changing city that just keeps growing up and by “up,” I mean getting taller.

Christopher Reichert: Yes, exactly. So how did your time at Sloan change you? What do you think before and after?

Kerry James: I think my time at Sloan changed me because it did open my eyes up to the global nature of humanity, which I appreciated. But also the idea of working with people and embracing the idea of working with people that have different skill sets than you have. And when I say different skill sets, they worked in different places, some of them worked in investment banks, some of them worked for non-government organizations and different areas and aspects of government. It really does bring a different perspective than when you sit in an investment bank and you're only listening to people who have almost entirely the same background. So it really opened up my eyes to the benefit of having those multiple voices in the room.

The other thing about it is it gave me a new group of people that were like-minded in that they wanted to do interesting things with their careers after or with their lives after. And that may or may not have to do with their work career, but it may have to do with some other side interests that are more nonprofit or philanthropic, and so that experience really changed my perspective a lot.

Christopher Reichert: Do you keep in touch with any of your classmates?

Kerry James: I keep in touch with a lot of my classmates. I have a WhatsApp group of classmates that are running the New York City half marathon in March, and we are constantly chatting and encouraging each other about getting those long runs in every weekend and what workouts we are doing.

Christopher Reichert: And you're doing it as well?

Kerry James: I'm coaching this year because I actually have a problem with my foot that I need to get surgery on, but I've done it with other Sloanies other years. We've done some other running races. Every time I would travel, when I lived in Europe and would travel all over to Asia and things, I would see classmates all the time, everywhere. I would see them in Hong Kong, I'd see them in the Middle East, I'd see them all over Europe. I mean, I'm in touch with a lot of Sloanies that it really does make my travel life a lot easier and a lot nicer when you can go to Hong Kong and have dinner with a friend that you haven't seen in a couple of years because you get the benefit of having them where I'm traveling.

Christopher Reichert: Was your class very international, if you think about where many of them are?

Kerry James: Yes, I feel like our class was pretty international. Maybe, I don't know what the percentage is, but it's probably 40, around 40-plus percent, and you just get to know a lot of people. So, spending time in Europe, the entire contingent that there was a group of people who went to London, so you get to reconnect with them as well. I spent a lot of time meeting up with Sloanies all over the world.

Christopher Reichert: Was there a professor that you think back that made a big impact on you or a class or even a study group for that matter?

Kerry James: A class that had a big impact on me was the Organizational Behavior class with Professor John Van Maanen, what a funny guy! He always had these great stories because he would insert himself into whatever company he was trying to understand and get to know the organization. So he's worked at AT&T and he has worked at all these big companies or all these big organizations, government organizations too, to really understand it. And he had great stories that you really would say, "Oh, I can understand what the issue is there and I can understand what we can do to try to get around it or work through it." So Organizational Behavior with John Van Maanen was really quite memorable for me. The late Professor Thoreau was one of my professors as well, and he would say things like, "What's the probability of that happening? Precisely zero." It gave me a whole new take on economics.

Christopher Reichert: Interesting. If you could have a do-over at Sloan, what do you think it would be?

Kerry James: Oh, hands down, easy question. I would have done whatever the G-Lab equivalent is now. Entrepreneurship Lab was maybe a couple years old when I was in my time at Sloan and friends were doing it, but I didn't do it and I really wish I had taken the opportunity to go on a G-Lab experience.

Christopher Reichert: Yes, I would agree. I think G-Lab was, I was in 2003-2004 and I had just come back from Australia, so I didn't feel like I wanted to go back over there, but I agree that's one of those ones I think that really was… I did the E-Lab, which was driving up to Wayland or somewhere like that and consulting with that company, but not the same.

Kerry James: Friends of mine did a G-Lab and worked with a company down in Costa Rica. Just listening to them and talking to them, that's an amazing experience to work with a company and really understand their issues and dive into it in a very tangible hands-on way that will change how that company behaves going forward. Having that experience, I wish I had done it.

Christopher Reichert: And did you live overseas in Europe after Sloan or before Sloan?

Kerry James: After Sloan.

Christopher Reichert: Right. So how did your Sloan degree get you to your next opportunity, or did it? What were the next steps in your second-year as you and your classmates are looking for your next opportunity?

Kerry James: I was pretty traditional in looking for my next opportunity after Sloan, so I had worked at Morgan Stanley in the asset management side doing sales.

Christopher Reichert: That was an internship you mean, or was that prior?

Kerry James: Prior to. So my internship was also at Morgan Stanley, but in the investment division looking at stocks for the growth equity team. I could make models and read the reports and put things together, but I also realized I did not have the touch for investing. I do not have the touch to look at the numbers, read the tea leaves and say “you should buy that stock and sell that one,” and I wasn't really happy being in the cubicle. I really preferred to be out talking to people. So I knew that being an analyst and a portfolio manager was not in the cards for me.

I was glad I had that summer experience so that I knew I wasn't trying to pursue that as a real career. When I left Sloan, I had opportunities to go to Goldman Sachs, which is where I went on the equity sales desk to go to the Monitor Group and consulting, went back to Morgan Stanley in a different sales-related role, and then a couple other places. In the end I went to Goldman, spent a couple of years on the sales desk and then I left Goldman and I spent a year working at Wellington, also in business development.

By then I already had the bug of wanting to experience working overseas, and once I had that bug in my ear from my time at Sloan, from my friends with G-Lab, from all of these little experiences kind of piling together, I went to a couple of friends’ weddings overseas, just all kinds of things piling together. I actually went back to the Monitor Group and said, "Hey, you guys gave me an offer three years ago, what do you think about hiring me now?" And thankfully the person who was the Director of Human Capital then knew the CEO that I was working for at the time and said, "Okay, that sounds like a great idea. You don't have to interview again, you just have to chat with some people and make sure this is a choice you want to make." I couldn't believe they said that by the way.

Christopher Reichert: It isn’t that easy all the time.

Kerry James: No, no, and it was pretty incredible because once I joined the Monitor Group, within a couple of months, I was telling anybody who would listen, “I really want an assignment overseas. I'd love to go to Europe, I'd love to go to Paris,” and within a couple of months I was being sent over to Paris to work on a client project, same client I had worked with here in the States.

That really opened the door. I was supposed to go over there for a four-month project. It ended up being over a nine-month project. I spent a year in Paris, I moved to London; they asked me to move to London. I spent a year over in London and then I found a job with the current company I work for and I was based in Rotterdam. I was kind of between Rotterdam and Paris for six years. I would have never even thought about that, had I not teed up that opportunity with Monitor Group before leaving Sloan. So I talk about how Sloan changed my life, it's not just the friends that I have, which are phenomenal, but it's also having exposure to these opportunities that I would not have seen otherwise.

Christopher Reichert: Do you think that as you left Sloan, as a woman, and a woman of color, working in the States and overseas, do you see any difference in the evolution of how your work progressed or how people treated you then in the States and overseas and now?

Kerry James: Yes, it's very interesting. I was very fortunate in that most of the time I spent abroad, I was working with a variety of very intelligent but very diverse group of people. One of the bosses that I had really promoted the idea of making sure that as a woman and as a woman of color you got the skills you needed in helping you get there. So, we'd say it's not just mentorship, it's sponsorship, and he was really a great sponsor for me. He happened to be based in Europe, but he had lived in the States for a very long time, he is technically European.

But that helped me a lot. I didn't realize that that could be a unique experience rather than the norm, because once I came back to the States, it's harder to find that kind of sponsorship that really helps you move your career. The time right after Sloan is kind of open season for everybody, but it feels like later, 10-plus years after that, is where you really need to make sure you have that kind of sponsorship and it's hard to find anyway, it feels like it's harder to find right now.

Christopher Reichert: You go back to that sponsor overseas as a kind of a reference point?

Kerry James: Yes, he's a reference point and he's a sounding board. I like to think of him as one of the people in my personal advisory council and I keep in touch with him for that reason. So I feel like it makes a difference. But when you're leaving Sloan, it feels like there's a lot more of a levelness because there's a lot of people who don't know what they're doing coming into these associate tracks. But it's harder to be seen in a positive way, it's harder to be noticed in a positive way.

Christopher Reichert: And when you say “harder to be noticed,” in what context?

Kerry James: So, within the context of say, being in this big analyst pool or the big associate pool, it's harder to be seen in a positive way and harder to be noticed in a positive way. If you're doing really good work and you're not talking about it enough, then it fades into the background of, "Well, this group did really good work." If you're really doing good work and you're talking about it a lot, it's, "Why are you being so boastful about it?" If you’re struggling with something and you're asking for help it's, "Well, they don't know what they're doing." So you're kind of beat up on all sides and that can be challenging.

Christopher Reichert: How have you navigated that? How have you changed the way you've approached it? You've walked into some things, you've backed out and tried again?

Kerry James: Yes, I've walked into a few things and backed out and tried it again. I try to always put forward my best work. Quite frankly, I'm not shy about asking for help, because I feel like that is something that a lot of us will suffer in silence, or think the work speaks for itself. It doesn't, the work does not speak for itself. I make a point of trying to advocate for things that I've done well in and asking for help in areas where it's not going well, and finding people that compliment my skillset. So I find that those things have helped me kind of navigate a little bit better than before. But there's still a lot of unconscious bias in a lot of things and that's something we need to talk about so we can get through.

Christopher Reichert: I've known you for what, about two years now, I guess?

Kerry James: Yes.

Christopher Reichert: And my impression is that you exude confidence and you kind of enter a room and people notice. Was there ever a time when you were shy and retiring? Have you always been this way or it's just amended, as you've grown and matured personally and professionally, now it's just part of how you are?

Kerry James: It's interesting. It is something I've been able to tap into when I know what I'm doing. I can't walk into a room like that when I don't know what I'm doing and I'll give you a fine example of it. I belong to this cycling group and we do indoor time-trial type workouts that are really quite challenging. And they do this hill climb class on Saturdays and I've been really intimidated about going there, because people talk about how intense it is and the people in there are really intense and, quite frankly, a little bit afraid of going in there. I went in there for the first time a couple of weeks ago and I was quiet as a church mouse. I was like, "Excuse me, what do we do to set up here right now?"

And then I go over to the instructor and I say very quietly, "Well, I'm new here, I've never been," and she's like, "okay, yeah, no problem but hold up, let me set you up next to these people.” But honestly I walked in that room like I... no.

Christopher Reichert: You were just observing.

Kerry James: I was observing, I was trying to melt into the background. But that was the first time I went, and then the second time I went it was a lot different. But -

Christopher Reichert: The Kerry that I know came out -

Kerry James: Comes out. Yes, exactly.

Christopher Reichert: So in your career, do you mentor, do you provide that sort of sponsorship role you talked about that helped you? Is that something that you make a conscious effort to do, to seek out younger people?

Kerry James: I do, because I think if we don't develop the newer generations, then it's a disservice to ourselves and it's a disservice to the company over time. I do try to mentor and sponsor different people and I don't do that just at my organization, but there's a couple of people at different organizations where I've met them at different events and things and I'm on their advisory board, personal advisory board.

Christopher Reichert: Right, right. So tell me what makes Kerry James tick? What gets you motivated, if you think about what the purpose of your work is or your life, your personal life or your hobbies and interests?

Kerry James: I like challenges, I like things that are a little bit messy and you're trying to understand it. I like things that are changing all the time. Part of the reason I like doing work within the investment business is that the markets are changing all the time and there's always a different story to tell. I like to work with clients, international clients or non-U.S. based clients, because the way you communicate and what's important to each one of them is different.

It is entertaining and interesting to think about “How do I want to position this so that it resonates with this audience?” It tells our story, but it resonates with the audience. I find that to be very fun, and that's entertaining and fun to me. Then when I say I like challenges, this is why we're doing this whole running thing for the New York Half Marathon, or I've done several triathlons. It's an internal challenge and that really does make me tick. I'm not talking about trying to beat other people necessarily, but I do like to challenge myself to be as good as I possibly can be.

Christopher Reichert: Great. So thinking about your degree from Sloan, the MBA, how relevant is it for you today? Now that you are what, 17 years out?

Kerry James: 17 years! No, it's okay. So I'm 17 years out. I think the softer skills have stayed more relevant for me, so the way I work with people being exposed to an understanding, different cultures, some of those things are more relevant to me. I still remember things about financial analysis and economics of course, and that does come into play because I work in the investment business. I'm not necessarily running a statistics program right now or an option theory, I'm not doing that either. But things around economics, things around negotiation to be fair, because we're always pricing different things and negotiating on different elements so those have all stayed relevant for me. But the most important thing that I gained from my Sloan experience that I take with me every day is the people.

Christopher Reichert: And what compelled you to get involved with the [MIT] Sloan Alumni Board?

Kerry James: I thought it would be a fun opportunity to get to know people from different vantages, from different years and different programs, and a great way to reconnect with Sloan and understand what's going on at the school and try to lend a hand to making the school the best it can possibly be.

Christopher Reichert: Are you involved in other club activities? Outside of directly with the school, going to events, or?

Kerry James: So outside of going to events and things like that, no. I've done events with the MIT Club of Boston, the Sloan Club of Boston, those kinds of things. But it’s more ad hoc, let's say.

Christopher Reichert: What's your definition of success? If you had to tell someone who's coming into Sloan, okay you're ambitious clearly, but how do you define success for yourself?

Kerry James: If I define success for myself, it's really having the flexibility and the resources to do things that I enjoy. I don't say I work to live, but I live to work. I enjoy what I do for work, but it really helps fund my enjoyment of life. So success for me is having that flexibility and resources to do things that I enjoy and I really enjoy traveling and seeing the world. So having a position where I can go to different places every month is fantastic, but also having the resources to be able to stay longer if I want to or go on vacation to some other magical place.

Christopher Reichert: What's on your list of places that you going to travel to?

Kerry James: I'm going to the Grenadines Islands in about three days, so I shall escape the cold. I shall escape the cold for the holiday. Then after that I've really wanted to go to Bali and I've now talked to somebody where I think that's going to happen sooner rather than later.

Christopher Reichert: That's a magical place.

Kerry James: I hear it's a magical place, but I've gone to Oman for example, which is not normally on people's lists, but it's such a beautiful country and so lovely, the people are just so lovely. I've gone to a lot of places in Latin America and across Europe and across Asia. So I'm always looking for the next thing, and the next thing for me right now is Bali.

Christopher Reichert: That's great. I was there I guess in 2000. It's amazing.

Kerry James: Oh yes? Well it's not too far once you're-

Christopher Reichert: In Australia.

Kerry James: Yes.

Christopher Reichert: Yes.

Kerry James: Everything's far.

Christopher Reichert: Everything's eight hours away.

Christopher Reichert: So, what's next for you? You've been at Boston Partners for 11 years and you're happy there?

Kerry James: Yes, I have a great position and I have a lot of fun doing it. The things I'm getting involved in now are more on the angel investing side. So trying to see what's going on, a lot related to MIT, broadly, companies that are getting started and business enterprises that are in very early stage development. I've been looking around in that space as a side project to my day job let's say. And then we'll kind of see what happens from there.

Christopher Reichert: What angle do you take with those startups?

Kerry James: Besides investing in them as more of an angel investor, I've done a lot of work around marketing and sales and business development. I'm usually the one that's asking, “Well how are you really going to grow this from 10 units to 10,000 units to 10 million units?”

Christopher Reichert: And how do you get introduced to them?

Kerry James: It's a lot of legwork to be fair. You're going to different-

Christopher Reichert: It's like MassChallenge type of thing?

Kerry James: You go to MassChallenge, you go to the [MIT] 100K Pitch competitions, you go to, there is an MIT Alumni Angels Club. You'd go to a lot of different events and just listen in and see what's going on.

Christopher Reichert: And is there an area that you find more interesting than others? Like some people are in healthcare, some people in bio…

Kerry James: I'm fascinated by fintech because I do think the face of the financial services industry is going to change a lot for a variety of reasons around indexing and lower fees and the fact that millennials and younger generations are not as interested in investing and thinking about their retirement in the same way. I think a lot of things are going to change there and I think fintech is part of it. So I'm interested there, but I do like consumer-related items because I think it's fun. So I like to look at the consumer-related companies too.

Christopher Reichert: What's your opinion of cryptotechnologies, cryptocurrencies?

Kerry James: I don't know enough about it, but I've been hearing a lot about it from different people that I know well. I actually had been looking on the MIT Sloan lecture website, trying to understand what are things they're offering around cryptotechnologies because I don't know enough about it.

Christopher Reichert: Yes, and how about blockchain? Does that factor into some of the-

Kerry James: Blockchain is great technology and they're using it for a variety of different applications and there's a lot of good investment opportunities around blockchain. Again, I don't know 100% enough about it, but it's being used a lot more than you think it is.

Christopher Reichert: Right? Yes, I know, it seems like every time I learned about it it's like, wow, this really is essential. Some of the trust issues that we have and our social media side of things, right? As we learn more and more.

What was the last thing you geeked out about? Being at Sloan, being at MIT, you have six years of geek history to draw on.

Kerry James: What's the last thing I geeked out about? On the Alumni Board and when we start getting into data around the people and how are these numbers working out in terms of programs and who goes to what, and what can you say about whether they're taking part in these activities. That means that they will either be more involved in Sloan or feel more involved in Sloan. When we started digging into the numbers a couple of years ago about the alumni and what they're interested in, and what is getting them to be engaged in Sloan, I geeked out about what some of those things are. It's like, “Well I think the decision path is more like this than like that.” And that was pretty good fun. But I'm more likely right now to geek out about how do I improve my sous vide egg recipe.

Christopher Reichert: Interesting. Alright, so we've covered a lot of ground. Do you have any parting advice for prospective Sloanies or anyone out there who's listening to this?

Kerry James: I'd say my parting advice for prospective Sloanies is, it can be a challenging environment, but it's really a lot of fun. So don't feel like you need to have been a math major or an engineering major or a former consultant or former investment banker to really come to Sloan and enjoy the experience, because it's fun having a lot of different voices in the room. I encourage anybody who's looking at Sloan to just apply there and see what it's like and come visit and visit the Sloan on the Road and get to know some of the people.

Every time I go to one of the Sloan on the Road events, I enjoy talking to the current students too and hearing about what the prospective students are thinking about and what they're considering, because it reenergizes my belief that I chose the right school.

Christopher Reichert: Great.

Kerry James: And then of course if there are any second year Sloanies sitting there that already have jobs, second year, second semester grades don't matter. Unless you're going to get a PhD, then buckle down and pay attention. Have some fun in the second year, you're not going to have another opportunity to be surrounded by a lot of great people and learn some interesting things and have a lot of great life experiences.

Christopher Reichert: That's great. And I would say once you graduate, stay involved with Sloan because then you get to have conversations like this today with Kerry James, thanks very much.

Kerry James: Thank you very much, Christopher, good to talk to you.

Christopher Reichert: You too.

Christopher Reichert: Sloanies Talking with Sloanies is produced by the office of external relations at MIT Sloan School of Management. You can subscribe to this podcast by visiting our website, mitsloan.mit.edu/alumni or wherever you find your favorite podcasts. Support for this podcast comes in part from the MIT Sloan annual fund, which provides essential flexible funding to ensure that our community can pursue excellence. Make your gift today by visiting giving.mit.edu/sloan.