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Matt Lagoy

Quick Study

A liberal arts foundation and a broad range of opportunities helped Matt Lagoy land on his feet in the world of New York finance.

Matt LagoyAsk 2003 Gettysburg graduate Matt Lagoy what, among the many things he was engaged in at Gettysburg, helped prepare him best for his job as a financial advisor at Morgan Stanley, one of the nation's largest investment banking firms, and the answer is not what you would expect. It was not the coursework in finance or entrepreneurship he took as part of his management major, though those were vital to his education. Nor was it his experience in the competitive outlet of the gridiron, where he played linebacker for the Bullets football team. No, it was his study-abroad experience junior year in Seville, Spain.

"You land in Spain and the next thing you know you're in a taxicab going to meet your host family," says Lagoy, who added a second major in Spanish. "Things aren't always comfortable, but you have to learn to adjust, to change, to keep an open mind. It was a great experience."

Those skills, Matt says, served him extremely well as he adapted to the equally "foreign" culture of Wall Street at the age of 22. Matt started out in a training program at Morgan Stanley a few months after graduating from Gettysburg, passed the required licensing exams, and was soon involved in the financial services industry. He later moved to Citigroup-Smith Barney, where he is part of a team that helps handle wealth management for business owners, corporate executives, and other high-net-worth clients.

His liberal arts background, he says, and especially the liberal arts as delivered at Gettysburg, have been crucial to his rapid success: "New York is not going to slow down and let you integrate at your own speed. You have to adapt as quickly as possible. Gettysburg stresses the ability to multitask and change in new surroundings. It teaches you to be well-rounded, to adapt, to persevere in difficult times. It makes you confident, ready and willing to tackle anything you're going to face. And those things are absolutely important in any fast-paced business environment."

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