Alumni Profile

Jordan Kaufman (’06MA, Statistics)

Jordan Kaufman

What is your current role?
Financial advisor and portfolio manager.

What are you working on now?
I am finding solutions that fit within the objectives and constraints that my clients set forth. In the current environment, with interest rates being so low and risk premiums compressed, it can be challenging to design portfolios that meet clients’ return needs.

What drew you to your field?
I believe that better analytics and predictive models can improve our decision making and performance. Quantitative methods are playing a bigger role in many fields, especially finance, and being able to understand what is happening conceptually when reviewing data and output can have incredible value.

What lessons from graduate school have you found useful in your professional life?
The strengths and limitations of statistics. My industry is quick to highlight the strengths of a study, but hesitant to admit a study’s limitations and lack of dependability around the conclusions. I learned a powerful lesson at Columbia about how inputs such as data selection and quality can have a large impact on the output of a study.

What skill has unexpectedly helped you in your career?
Emotional Quotient (EQ), which can be as important—if not more important, at times—than Intelligence Quotient (IQ). Trust and perception are such important parts of business, and no matter how fantastic your work is or how seismic your conclusion, it is unlikely to get attention if people do not trust you. I have found that relationships, and how people view you, can be critical component of how much impact you can generate.

What is your favorite memory from your graduate years?
Studying with my peers in the study lab, and talking to them about jobs and internships. I learned a lot from listening to other students.

What are your passions outside of your work?
My family—especially my wife and daughter. I am fortunate in that most of my other passions are intertwined with my work in some way. It is hard to find enough hours in the day to do everything you want to do, so I find it best to combine passions and work when possible.

What is your advice for current GSAS students?
Do not delay in reaching out to the world outside academia. Consider working at businesses, trying new things, and meeting people in industries and jobs of interest.

What is next for you, professionally or otherwise?
I want to learn every day, be passionate about what I am doing, and have a positive impact on those around me. I have that now with my current role, so until that changes, more of the same!