If you grew up in Canada, chances are you were encouraged to play hockey throughout your childhood. But if emulating Bobby Orr’s career in that sport was not your calling, it would be advantageous to have an alternate area of interest on which to focus one’s future.
For Toronto-raised Mark Garmaise, senior associate dean of the full-time MBA program and professor of finance, the choice was easy. Thanks to an innate interest in math and finance, he could retire the hockey stick and skates and pursue the areas of study that most intrigued him.
Q: So, are numbers in your blood?
Very likely. After my father earned his advanced degree in the United States, my parents returned to Toronto to set up, own and run a successful investment management firm. I have a brother who is a consultant in New York and a sister working for a market research firm in Toronto. Guess you could say it’s all in the family.
Q: Looks like you followed your parents’ footsteps in pursuit of your academics.
I wanted to attend Harvard University to study math and philosophy, a combined major that was very appealing, as the fields have logic in common. While there wasn’t much time to engage in other campus activities, I did write some political pieces for one of Harvard’s student newspapers (not National Lampoon, in case anyone was wondering). I was working really hard on my studies and focusing on the academics, which was my priority.
You graduated magna cum laude from Harvard, then headed to Stanford University, where you earned a Ph.D. in finance. What was that attraction?
I always wanted to come to California for a number of reasons, including its natural beauty, laid-back attitude — a lot of stereotypes that are based on fact.