When Tom Jenkins ’92 recently spoke to Mays Business School undergraduate students, he came prepared with the honest, practical career advice students long to hear from experts in the business field.

Jenkins, a senior vice president at UBS, graduated from Texas A&M University with a marketing degree, but found himself working in finance quickly after graduation. Highly recruited out of college, Jenkins went to work for NationsBank, but was laid off after only 10 months of working at the company. Jenkins shared with the students the tough reality of working three jobs (individual financial planner, pizza delivery man and suit salesman at Macy’s on the weekends) to pay bills. However, Jenkins says getting laid off enabled him to discover what he was passionate about: helping people manage their wealth.

“I love the people side of business,” Tom Jenkins ’92 told Mays students, “even more than the financial side.” (view more photos)

After successfully growing his own financial planning business, Jenkins went to work for Merrill Lynch, where he stayed for 13 years. He left Merrill Lynch in 2010 to go to work for UBS.

On paper, Jenkins says his job is to advise clients whose wealth ranges from $2 million to $50 million. He meets with the individuals, determines their most pressing financial concern, devises a strategy, executes the strategy and follows up with the client on a regular basis.

Jenkins says the role of a wealth advisor goes far beyond the job description on paper and that financial advising requires a well-rounded, personable individual. Jenkins says his duties include marketing, finance, sales, psychology, business management and studying.

The financial expert offered the students advice in the professional and personal finance realms. In a career setting, Jenkins told students:

  • Establish a value proposition
  • Take time to learn what excites you
  • Be passionate and aggressive
  • Internships are key
  • Don’t ask for money, ask for advice
  • Don’t burn bridges
  • Be a person of integrity

He also gave students personal financial advice:

  • Become a saver
  • Be a good steward (be a cheerful giver)
  • Become cash rich
  • Don’t rush into buying a house; don’t get into debt
  • Invest money and learn as you go
  • Have fun with the money you’ve saved

A proud Aggie, Jenkins says he learned his “good bedside manners” while dealing with clients from his time at Texas A&M and his involvement with the university after graduation. “I love the people side of business – even more than the financial side.”