By Kaine Korzekwa
To some, the path to take after an MBA is obvious — work at a large investment bank or research firm somewhere like Wall Street. However, Joshua Koeck’s route has been a little different. He serves as the director of investment for what is called a single family office in the Chicago area, where he meets the financial management needs of one wealthy family.
“After my undergraduate degree and working for a bit I really wanted to hone my skills in a hands-on approach and that’s why I came to Madison,” says Koeck, who graduated with an MBA from the Applied Security Analysis track in 2010. “It helped me get my current role of managing the multigenerational wealth of a large family.”
While many people have heard of companies like Edward Jones and Merrill Lynch, not many have heard of single family offices. Koeck explains how it’s beneficial for some families to create an internal entity to invest and manage their finances rather than having individual family members spread it across several companies.
“I’m still doing research and being a manager like I would at another larger company, but here I’m working directly with the family to manage their generational wealth to ensure the success of future generations,” he says. “I set goals with the family and try to meet their needs.”
The dynamic of a single family office is very different from traditional client-advisor relationships. Koeck says he uses more qualitative skills such as building trust and relationships with the family members. For example, he talks with someone in their late 20s about emerging technology markets very differently than he does an 80-year-old.
“I think Madison in particular did a very good job at teaching us ‘here’s the problem or issue now solve it’ instead of just ‘should I buy this stock or bond.’ You have to be able to communicate that end goal and make sure everyone is on the same page.”
It’s this mixture of trust and relationship building, and the hard and fast quantitative skills he gained at Madison, that help him grow the business and provide services to the family.
“To me, it’s better than writing a research report on a company that someone may or may not even be using,” he says. “In this role you can really see the effect you’re having much easier. It’s very dynamic and there’s never really one day the same. It keeps me on my toes and keeps me going and what I learned during my MBA is helping me meet that goal.”