No Bull: MBA Students Get Leadership Lessons from Former NYSE Chief

By Morgan Bernstein

NYSE_Chief_smallWhat could you learn in an hour spent with an NYSE chief? A packed room full of Berkeley MBA students found out when Duncan Niederauer, former CEO of the New York Stock Exchange came to campus for our Dean's Speaker SeriesNiederauer drew on a career that has included 22 years with Goldman Sachs and 7 years at the helm of the NYSE to share lessons on business and leadership success, including these:
1. Have a personal board of directors, comprised of close family and friends (rather than co-workers). These people must care about you and be truth-tellers. 
2. Know your weaknesses as well as you know your strengths. People choose paths to the top that fail because they take positions that are not in line with their strengths.

3. Every boss is a role model. That doesn't necessarily mean they are a good one, but you will always learn. Even specific ideas of what not to do are valuable.

4. Have a plan, but don't over-engineer.
If you are too rigid, you won't be open to opportunities that might come your way.

5. Encourage debate. The more senior you get, the more you need to let people know that they can say whatever they want to you.

6. Manage down.  The generals can take care of themselves. Take care of the soldiers first, and they will work hard for you. 

7. Be respected first. If you're liked, that's a bonus.

8. Hire correctly, and give people more rope and responsibility than even they think they can handle. If they come up short, part of the responsibility lies on your shoulders.


Want more wisdom and life lessons from top leaders? Check out previous talks by such speakers as Novartis CEO Joe Jimenez, Khan Academy Founder Salman Khan, and Haas Professor emeritus and then-Fed Vice Chair Janet Yellen. 



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Posted on October 2, 2014
Morgan Bernstein
Morgan was the Executive Director of Full-time MBA Admissions at Haas from 2016-2019 as well as a graduate of the program. She enjoys making personal connections with prospective students and guiding them through the MBA admission process.