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Real Humans of Goldman Sachs: Ken Jackson, Rice Business MBA ’23, Private Wealth Advisor

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Army veteran Ken Jackson went from piloting Black Hawks to private wealth management at Goldman Sachs–the bridge being the Rice University’s Jones Graduate School of Business MBA program. In this edition of Real Humans: Alumni, see how Jackson’s MBA put him in the entrepreneurial mindset, his secret weapon that has allowed him to thrive confidently in the wealth management landscape.

Ken Jackson, Rice Business MBA ’23, Private Wealth Advisor at Goldman Sachs

Age: 33
Hometown: Peachtree City, GA
Undergraduate Institution and Major: United States Military Academy, BS – Environmental Science
Graduate Business School, Graduation Year and Concentration (if applicable): Rice University Jones Graduate School of Business, 2023, Concentrations in Finance and Entrepreneurship
Pre-MBA Work Experience (title, company, years, industry): Black Hawk helicopter pilot, US Army, 8-years
Post-MBA Work Experience (title, company, years, industry): Private Wealth Advisor, Goldman Sachs, 1 year, Investment Management

Why did you choose to attend business school?
Throughout my eight years in the Army, I uncovered an extracurricular passion for investing. Beyond just personal interest, I found joy in sharing that passion with others. I knew that business school was the best path to help me start a career that would allow me to pursue these passions at the highest level.

Why Rice Business? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
I chose Rice Business because of its vibrant entrepreneurial mindset. From lectures to projects and even social events, every aspect was buzzing with discussions on innovation and process improvement. The dynamic atmosphere at Rice perfectly aligns with my passion for pushing boundaries and finding creative solutions.

What about your MBA experience prepared you for your current career?
In private wealth management, we often throw around the phrase ‘building our book of business.’ My MBA gave me an entrepreneurial mindset that made my career feel like I was launching a new venture. This perspective has been my secret weapon, helping me thrive and navigate the ever-evolving landscape of wealth management with confidence.

What was your internship during business school? How did that inform your post-MBA career choice?
My business school internship was at Goldman Sachs in private wealth management, and it was truly fantastic. This experience not only allowed me to ensure my expectations of the job aligned with reality but also provided valuable hands-on exposure. It played a pivotal role in confirming that private wealth management was the perfect fit for my post-MBA career.

Why did you choose your current company? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to work?
I chose to join Goldman Sachs because I wholeheartedly believe that you are the sum of the people you spend time with. At Goldman Sachs, I found myself surrounded by individuals who inspire me daily with their drive, purpose, and passion. This unique environment perfectly aligns with my values, making every day at Goldman Sachs not just a job but a genuinely fulfilling journey.

Advice to current MBA students:
–One thing you would absolutely do again as part of the job search?
The simple things. That means showing up on time, being well-prepared with thoughtful questions, and always following up with sincere thank-you emails. These easy yet crucial steps not only showcase professionalism but, more importantly, lay the groundwork for building genuine connections with potential employers. It’s the kind of approach that makes the job search not just a process but a valuable opportunity to connect with people on a meaningful level.

–One thing you would change or do differently as part of the job search?
If there’s one thing I’d change in my job search journey, it would be to go all-in on building my network. I discovered that, especially as a student, people are more than willing to meet and share insights if you show genuine eagerness to learn. Reflecting on it, I believe dedicating even more time to connect with professionals and expand my network would have brought an extra layer of depth to my job search experience.

–Were there any surprises regarding your current employer’s recruiting process?
Recruiting for private wealth management is a high-touch journey, and one lesson I learned is that it’s never too early to start, even if you don’t initially feel fully prepared. Starting early not only gives you a head start, but also empowers you to navigate the process more confidently, ensuring you make the most out of the opportunities that come your way.

 –What piece of advice do you wish you had been given during your MBA?
Interesting people like interesting people. Take time to document your life experiences and use those to tell stories that extract traits aligned with your desired job. Know that everyone has fascinating stories; the key is to tell them in an equally captivating way.

Christina Griffith
Christina Griffith is a writer and editor based in Philadelphia. She specializes in covering education, science, and history, and has experience in research and interviews, magazine content, and web content writing.