Poole College Advisory Board Spotlight: Jeff Wright ’91
By Caroline Barnhill
North Carolina native, NC State alumnus and former naval officer Jeff Wright spent nearly two decades building an impressive career in investment banking. Today, he lends his expertise as a member of the Poole College of Management advisory board, as well as the NC State University Foundation.
After graduating from NC State in 1991 with a bachelor’s degree in political science, Wright was commissioned as a naval officer serving for five years before leaving active duty and embarking on a new career that tapped into his interests in finance and capital markets. He spent two years working for a hedge fund in Philadelphia before moving to the Bay Area and working in investment banking with a high-growth company focus during the Dot.com era.
“I went on to get my MBA from the University of Southern California and spent 18 years in capital markets trading, sales trading and then more traditional investment banking. After retiring in 2016, I spent some time working on corporate boards within the mining & materials industry where I had some experience from my investment banking career,” Wright says. “Today, I’m back to where I was in 1996 – managing my capital.”
Now that his high-stakes investment career is in the rear view, Wright eagerly devotes his extra time to his passions, such as giving back to his alma mater.
In 2015, he worked with Poole College to establish a scholarship to support military dependents. And when he was approached in 20XX by then Poole College dean, Ira Weiss, about joining the board for the college, he quickly agreed.
“Over the years, I’ve become more engaged with the college. I’ve served as a guest lecturer on corporate finance investment banking and capital markets, and have helped students make connections with investment banks that could lead to potential job opportunities.”
As a member of the college’s advisory board, Wright believes strongly in the vision of Stephen P. Zelnak Jr. Dean Frank Buckless.
Frank has a solid vision to enhance all levels of the college and is very in tune not only with the needs of the students but also with employers that are relying on NC State and Poole College to produce talent.
“Frank has a solid vision to enhance all levels of the college and is very in tune not only with the needs of the students but also with employers that are relying on NC State and Poole College to produce talent,” Wright says. “He understands what the marketplace is looking for and wants to ensure the college graduates students with those in-demand skills.”
Wright also appreciates that Poole is a practical, real-world business school – more focused on application than theory.
I think the fact the college’s rankings continue to rise, and that we’re continuing to have more companies approach us looking for talent, shows that what we’re doing is working.
“I think the fact the college’s rankings continue to rise, and that we’re continuing to have more companies approach us looking for talent, shows that what we’re doing is working,” Wright says. “We’re aggressive in meeting the needs of employers – and that’s what has, and will continue to, set us apart. Beyond that, Poole continues to increase its collaboration with other colleges at NC State. And I believe that interdisciplinary approach is truly the future of business.”