Timothy Yates, Jr. ’94

JOB TITLE: Managing Director
ORGANIZATION: Commonfund Capital
LOCATION: Wilton, Connecticut
GRADUATE DEGREE: M.B.A., Fordham University

What was your first position after college? I became a teacher right after leaving Trinity. With a degree in modern languages, I was hired as a Spanish and Italian teacher at Fordham Preparatory School in the Bronx and also coached the soccer team. As a teacher and coach at Fordham Prep, I was able to attend Fordham University’s Graduate School of Business, where I earned an M.B.A. in finance with a designation in international business. This degree led me to Commonfund, where I have been for 14 years. Commonfund is a nonprofit investment firm, and I currently work in our private capital group.   

Has a liberal arts education helped you in shaping your career? A liberal arts education fostered in me an intellectual curiosity that has served me well throughout my career. It taught me how to think critically and have an open mind. A liberal arts education has also helped with communication skills, particularly through writing.   

What aspects of your Trinity experience have been important to advancing your career or graduate school experience? The rigorous academic setting and my experience on both the soccer and track teams were the most important parts of my Trinity experience. The opportunity to work so closely with the wonderful professors and coaches I had shaped my growth and maturity in those critical years of development.   

What advice would you give to Trinity students to prepare for a position in your field or graduate school? You are likely to find more success doing something that intersects with your passions. Pursue a career you enjoy, and you will work harder at it and thus be better at it. When doors of opportunity open, don’t be afraid to pursue them. I attended business school at night while teaching during the day not knowing where I would ultimately wind up. I would also recommend that recent graduates not be afraid to take lower positions at a company or firm they really want to be at and “work their way up.” Your first job won’t likely be your last. In terms of graduate school, be sure that you will get a return on the investment of time and money in pursuit of that degree. Lastly, networking is extremely important, as the investment industry is a people business.

What is the biggest misconception about your field? The biggest misconception about my field is that you need a bachelor’s in economics or finance. Many successful people in my field have all sorts of different majors and backgrounds.