Jack Boyce – an alum gives back to benefit students
As an active alumnus it’s been a busy spring semester for Jack Boyce ’81.
First, he appeared on campus as keynote speaker for the second annual induction of the Girard School’s Sigma Iota Epsilon chapter, the national management honor society.
A month later, he hosted a luncheon for 20 finance students at his Boston office, the U.S. headquarters of Standard Life Investments, a Scottish asset management company.
“As an alumnus, it’s been great to have the opportunity to give back to the school and to share experiences,” said Boyce.
From his experience of more than 30 years in investments, Boyce offers today’s students a wealth of advice.
He says students need to find out their passion. In his SIE speech, he recommended students watch Steve Jobs’ 2005 commencement speech at Stanford University to learn the Apple co-founder’s story.
Boyce recalled his message from the SIE speech to the 68 new members, the top-ranked management students at Girard: “Some of you may know what you love or may learn right away. For most, it’s a weeding-out process. What’s important to remember is you have many opportunities to change your mind. The fact is, you have a responsibility to change. From your honors today, it’s clear you have the ability. This should give you the courage. That courage is very important.”
A Merrimack Psychology major, Boyce took a heavy concentration of business courses at a time when the college had no minors. Having enjoyed a labor relations course, he discovered the field focused mostly on health care and retirement benefits. He began administering pension plans, then went into client relations and sales and marketing.
People entering the business world need to seek advice, Boyce said.
“Find a mentor or a coach,” he said.
“As a mentor, I hope I can help you avoid many of the buckets I may have put my foot in.”
Everyone can learn from his or her mistakes, he said: “It all depends on how you look at failure. Don’t resign yourself to it. Look at it as an experience, a data point, if you will.
There is often more than one right answer. The investment business is a case in point: there are many ways to win in the investment world.”
As head of U.S. distribution for Standard Life Investments since June 2012, he said, “We are working to build up and develop the distribution and client relations for Standard Life here in the U.S.” Globally, the company manages more than $272 billion of assets for more than 5 million customers; most of those assets are in the United Kingdom, Canada, Europe and India.
Prior to Standard Life Investments, Boyce was co-head of global institutional sales at PineBridge Investments, responsible for the U.S. and Japanese business development. Before joining PineBridge, he spent eight years as senior vice president at GE Asset Management, where he established global distribution and oversaw the consultant relations team; and 11 years as vice president at Diversified Investment Advisors, a subsidiary of Aegon USA.
Boyce welcomed the 20+ senior finance students to Boston for lunch on the day they also visited Bloomberg’s Boston office for certification testing on Bloomberg terminals. The lunch program included appearances by four of his staff, talking about their career paths and investment strategies. Among them were an investment specialist, the head of U.S. Equity Trading, along with the head of U.S. credit and global high yield.
“These are very successful people, from very different backgrounds,” Boyce said. “The head trader, his father was a roofer. Through persistent hard work he went to Brown. The Head of Credit was a History major. In investments, you will find a host of backgrounds among highly specialized areas of expertise.”
At Merrimack, Boyce also met his wife, Maryann, also ’81. They have served on the President’s Advisory Board. He was captain of the club squash team his junior and senior years and worked in campus ministry all four years. Maryann Boyce taught elementary school, worked in business and raised their two daughters.
While the Boyces live in Boston’s Back Bay, they visit North Andover often, to see Maryann’s family and Jack’s sister.
Those visits also allow him to engage more fully with Dean Cordano. “The Girard School is making remarkable progress in establishing a world-class business school.”
For new hires in the investment business, Jack Boyce ’81 says he looks for “for a certain level of being a self-starter, someone who will take responsibility, who’s willing to listen and learn, who has a sense of reliability.”
He also seeks people who understand the nature of their chosen business.
As he says he told the Girard School’s 2013 Sigma Iota Epsilon students: “Today you’re a business student. You will become a student of business. Know the game.”
He referred to author Simon Sinek, noted for his TED talks, who urges employees to know their company’s purpose. “In every company, everyone knows what the business does,” said Boyce. “Some people know how the business does it. Very few know why.”
Those who know why are often the most successful.
Boyce also has these tips for students:
Want to learn more?
Watch Steve Jobs’ Stanford University commencement speech at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VHWUCX6osgM
To hear Simon Sinek discuss “What’s Your Company’s Purpose?” go to http://www.inc.com/simon-sinek/leadership-how-to-identify-your-companys-purpose.html