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CEO of Morgan Stanley Discusses Financial Industry with Students

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James Gorman, Chairman and CEO of Morgan Stanley, addressed nearly 200 students at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business on Feb. 5, including many who have already accepted full-time positions and internships at the company.

A native of Brisbane, Australia, Gorman started as a lawyer before his transition to the financial industry. He joined Morgan Stanley in 2006 and became CEO in 2010.

For a company like Morgan Stanley that receives more than 100,000 resumes a year, standing out can come down to finding the area of the company that that is the best fit, Gorman said.

“It’s a big world and there are a lot of people out there,” Gorman said. “The talent is not the issue. The issue is passion and aligning your interests.”

He emphasized the importance of the financial industry and large corporations like Morgan Stanley for the global economy.

“If you boil down Wall Street to its simplest, it is the ability to match issuers with investors, people who need money with people who have money,” said Gorman. “You can’t have an economy that is well functioning without a well-functioning capital market. The concept of matching issuers with investors is core to the way the economic wheel turns.”

Gorman also encouraged students to do their own research into the life and culture on Wall Street, rather than taking movies and news articles at face value.

“You’re getting into a very sophisticated, demanding, intellectually challenging, and highly innovative field,” he said.

The event was sponsored by the school’s Center for Financial Markets and Policy and the Financial Management Association. Reena Aggarwal, Robert E. McDonough Professor of Business Administration, professor of finance, and director of the Center for Financial Markets and Policy, facilitated the discussion.