Alumnus Kurt Reiman '92 Named to Top Investment Role at Global Asset Management Firm | SUNY Plattsburgh
Sometimes it takes a push in the right direction to get on the right path.
Kurt Reiman ’92 is the newly minted Canadian chief investment strategist at BlackRock, a global asset management firm.
But in 1993, the new college graduate was waiting tables at Carbur’s restaurant in downtown Plattsburgh when his former professor, Dr. Prem Gandhi, came in one day for lunch.
“He saw me and said, ‘What are you doing?’” Reiman said, adding that Gandhi said he should stop by his office for a chat.
“He was a brilliant student—one of our best students. He had everything going for him,” Gandhi said. “I couldn’t see him working just for the sake of working.”
Their chance meeting led to a job interview at SUNY Plattsburgh. Reiman was hired by the college to help administrators at the School of Business and Economics lay the groundwork for accreditation by The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.
With Gandhi’s encouragement and guidance, Reiman applied to graduate school and enrolled in Johns Hopkins University’s School for Advanced International Studies.
Gandhi was kept abreast of Reiman’s progress there by Dr. Charles Doran, who was then the director of Canadian studies at the Johns Hopkins school.
“His feedback on Kurt was nothing short of praise,” Gandhi said.
Reiman was awarded a master’s degree in international relations from Johns Hopkins in 1997.
A close relationship with the faculty at SUNY Plattsburgh was key to Reiman’s success in his undergraduate career and beyond.
“They have a lot of time for students and if you’re on a path that you want to succeed, you want to do well, Plattsburgh is a place where you can get that attention and I think it’s really important. Not all schools have that,” Reiman said.
“I think about all of the people who touched my life when I was there as a student and as an employee.”
Among the many SUNY Plattsburgh professors who helped guide Reiman along the way were Dr. Nancy Church, Dr. Mohammed Gaber and Dr. Robert Christopherson, who all teach in the School of Business and Economics.
As a young undergraduate, Reiman knew what field of study he wanted to pursue relatively early in his college career. His father had studied economics in college and an economics course he took as an underclassman at Plattsburgh captured his interest in the field.
He decided to double major in international business and Canadian studies.
“I wanted something that was more immediately practical, which was the business end of things,” Reiman said.
As far as the international side of the major, he said, “I liked the idea of traveling and understanding other cultures and just having a broader lens on the world.”
He spent time in nearby Montreal both as a visiting student at McGill University and interning for the Montreal Board of Trade, endeavors Gandhi encouraged him to pursue.
To honor his former professor, he established a merit scholarship in Gandhi’s name.
“Kurt exemplifies both success as a SUNY Plattsburgh graduate who has risen to the top of his profession and the philanthropic spirit of giving back to his alma mater,” said SUNY Plattsburgh Director of Development Faith Long.
Reiman has also met with students, inviting them to visit his Manhattan office.
‘Students Should Distinguish Themselves’
Reflecting on the evolution of the financial sector in the time that has passed since he was a SUNY Plattsburgh student, Reiman said the face of the industry has changed significantly. It will be a challenging path for students going forward, he added.
The financial sector is consolidating, leading to increased competition for available jobs.
“It’s musical chairs and seats are being pulled away,” he said. “But there are new industries popping up within finance like smart applications for lending or providing advice for constructing portfolios—a lot of new technologies that are coming in and that’s where the innovation comes in.”
Reiman said students should become fluent in their subject matter and study financial markets regularly to gain an edge.
“Be prepared when you go to an interview to be able to convince the person on the other side of the desk who is interviewing you that you can do their job,” he said.
Looking back, Reiman realized he could do well early on as a student at Plattsburgh and that helped ignite the momentum of his career.
“You look at SUNY Plattsburgh and if there was something you needed, it was available. There were a lot of resources, all you needed to do was look,” he said. “Supplementing the curriculum and being involved in student programs and leveraging McGill and internship experiences were all part of the path.”
But the key to success, he said, goes beyond that. It goes back to Gandhi and the rest of his faculty mentors.
“The biggest part of it was having somebody around me who believed in me.”