Brian Conry ’01 shares career advice with finance students during trip to New York City financial firms
When Brian Conry ’01 tells students a career path in finance is not a straight line, he knows what he’s talking about.
Conry, now a vice president at PineBridge Investments in New York City, spent the first seven years of his career at AIG in New York and Los Angeles. He began as an underwriter in the executive liability group and then served as regional manager for the Southwest Region.
In 2008, he said, “I took a pause and went to business school” at Penn State’s Smeal College of Business for his M.B.A. He changed course in 2010, starting Imagination Systems, a web security firm, by licensing technology from Penn State. The company folded in 2012, but in 2011 he had joined another small tech firm as director of sales.
“Shortly thereafter, I decided it was time to rejoin the financial industry,” said Conry.
He shared his experiences with Girard School finance students in March, hosting them at PineBridge before their visit to the G.A.M.E. Forum.
“I encourage them to not think myopically. A career is likely to take many twists and turns. Each juncture is an opportunity to grow and learn,” said Conry, a finance major. “If you don’t get the job you want right out of school, create a plan to get you to where you want to be in five years. Then work each day toward that goal.”
He joined PineBridge in 2011 as a business development associate because, he said, he wanted to break into the industry. He was promoted in 2013 to vice president of business development and institutional sales. He’s responsible for covering institutional clients in the public fund, corporate, endowment and foundation, and insurance channels, in the United States and Canada. PineBridge Investments is a global asset manager with $82.5 billion in assets under management.
Conry served in student government and peer education as a sophomore at Merrimack and played varsity lacrosse. As a senior, he was captain of a team that finished 10-6. His Merrimack experiences taught him the value of team and community, he said. He carries with him two lessons from those days: “Remaining mindful that life is about more than what is right in front of you. And that giving back to the community can be a natural extension of daily life.”
Conry is glad to be an active alumnus of the Girard School, connecting with students on LinkedIn and in person. “Informally, I have sat down and spoken with several Merrimack students who have reached out to seek my input on their trajectory as they proactively tackle the challenges of the job market,” he said.
Those students leave a positive impression with Conry. “They have inspired me with their dogged determination in order to achieve their goals; and have reminded me of the quality of Merrimack students,” he said.