Hank Paulson tells Kellogg students to ‘master your profession’

Ani Ajith

Ex-Treasury Secretary Henry “Hank” Paulson Jr. answered questions about his handling of the 2008 financial crisis and his leadership style in front of a standing room only audience at a Kellogg School of Management event Tuesday night.

Janice Eberly, the John L. and Helen Kellogg Professor of Finance, asked the former Goldman Sachs chairman and CEO several questions covering his roots in the Chicago area, work-family life balance and transitioning between the private sector and the Treasury Department. Paulson, who sat on an advisory board for former Kellogg Dean Donald Jacobs, then answered questions from the audience.

The hourlong event was the latest in the Kellogg Distinguished Lecture Series and was presented in partnership with the Kellogg Business Leadership Club. Bill Shields, the president of BLC, estimated that approximately 700 people attended the question-and-answer session.

“We had very tight publicity, just within Kellogg,” Shields said.”We were expecting a lot of interest from Kellogg students, and we knew we didn’t have much space.”

Several attendees praised Northwestern and Kellogg for drawing such a high-profile speaker to campus.

“It was very interesting and helpful to gain insights on how he handled high-pressure situations,” John Flinn, a first-year Kellogg student, said.

Shields said the BLC began networking and trying to get in touch with Paulson and his staff approximately 18 months ago as part of an effort to bring “dream-level” speakers to NU.

In addition to advising Kellogg graduate students on navigating the decision-making processes on Wall Street and Capitol Hill, Paulson offered advice to undergraduate students interested in working in both the private and public sectors.

“For those who want to be leaders, I’ve always said, find your job expansively,” Paulson said in an interview after the speech. “The most important thing is to master your profession. That’s the only way to gain the respect of your colleagues.”

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