MIB: Making the Switch From Law to Finance

Matthew Kadnar, this week’s guest on Masters in Business, had a good career going as a lawyer. He was a senior associate at Melick & Porter, and then became in-house counsel for LPL Financial Services. But Kadnar was intrigued by the market, and made the big transition from being an attorney to asset management.

He found the markers both more interesting and more challenging, eventually becoming a Certified Financial Analyst. After stints at Putnam Investments, in 2004 he joined Grantham, Mayo & Van Otterloo, where he is now a member of the firm’s asset-allocation team.

In our conversation, Kadnar discusses the challenges of active management, noting that “only people who love it should be participating as portfolio managers.” Despite the appearance of being “quite glamorous,” at times, it can be “humbling and soul-crushing.” Managers who underperform find it a miserable existence. But to those who love it, and can persevere despite the challenges, it is a joy.

Kadnar also describes some of the more unusual strategies GMO, which has more than $70 billion under management, has developed over the years.

His favorite books are cited here; our conversation transcript is available here.

You can stream/download the full conversation, including the podcast extras, on iTunesBloomberg and Overcast. Our earlier podcasts can all be found on iTunesOvercast and Bloomberg.

Next week, we chat with Annie Duke, who won the World Series of Poker in 2004, and at one point was the winningest female poker player in history. She is the author of “Thinking in Bets: Making Smarter Decisions When You Don’t Have All the Facts.”



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