Gary Gensler Shares Leadership Lessons with Tuck Students

By Kirk Kardashian
Published Feb 27, 2014

The former Commodity Futures Trading Commission chairman visited Tuck as part of the Killingstad Global Insights Series.

On Feb. 24, Tuck’s Center for Global Business and Government (CGBG) welcomed to campus the person “responsible for the single biggest change in financial and capital markets in 40 years,” according to CGBG senior fellow Peter Fisher. The man was Gary Gensler, chairman of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission from May 2009 to January 2014. Gensler is credited with advocating for and implementing the recent government regulation of the $400 trillion swaps market.

Gensler, a self-described math geek, could have delivered a lecture on swaps—the often-complex derivatives at the heart of the 2008 global financial crisis. Instead, he used his time to talk about leadership: how to attain it, and what to do once you’ve got it.

Here is a summary of Gensler’s advice:

How to Get Into Leadership

  • Pursue your passions
  • Take risks and pursue opportunities
  • Find mentors

How to Be a Leader

  • Within the first month, write down on a sticky note your biggest goal in the job. Look at it everyday and try to avoid being sidetracked by competitors.
  • Know the difference between strategy and tactics
  • Learn about management
  • Keep lists
  • Get your messaging right

After his talk, Gensler took questions from students.

Gensler visited Tuck as part of the Killingstad Global Insights Series. This series of on-campus talks features senior executives and global leaders interacting with the Tuck community to foster dialogue on issues at the intersection of business and government. The program is made possible by a generous donation from Bernt Killingstad T'86, managing director at Lincoln Property Company.






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