For Tom and Janice Mansley, it was fate–and Pace University–that set them on a path toward personal and professional fulfilment.
Tom found his way to Pace thanks to an early investment that the University made in him. “Pace offered me a scholarship that made my four-year education affordable–that was my primary motivation in studying here,” he says. “I was in a combined BS/MBA program. Since I had a four-year scholarship, it made sense to maximize that opportunity and get both degrees,” he explained.
Jan was drawn to the University on the strength of the MBA program. “I had [earned] a bachelor’s in finance and was working at the Federal Reserve Bank, near Pace,” she says. “I knew that Pace had a great MBA program and that it would be good for my career, so I enrolled.”
They met in class in 1988. “Tom would always sit in the same seat. I thought he was really cute,” Jan says. “One day, I got there early and stole his seat!”
“Pace, being so close to the heart of the financial industry, enabled me to get key internships, including one at Moody’s,”
Tom concurs. “That was how it all started,” he says. “Our first date was October 13, 1988, and the rest is history.”
Career-wise, both he and Jan saw that their Pace educations had an immediate and lasting impact.
“Pace, being so close to the heart of the financial industry, enabled me to get key internships, including one at Moody’s,” says Tom, currently an investment director at GAM, specializing in the analysis and management of mortgage and asset backed securities.
He recalls his classes with the late Professor Robert Parks with special fondness. “Professor Parks wrote an investment newsletter,” Tom says. “He was a real professional economist who taught finance classes. One of the great things about Pace is how you have professors who are actually involved in the real world at the same time as teaching. Here was a guy who investors paid good money to in order to get his newsletter, and I was able to learn directly from him.”
Tom recommends that students strive to cultivate professional talent early. “Get a hard, tangible skill. You want to be able to walk into an employer and contribute on day one,” he says. “For example, I got my first job in the middle of a recession, but I got hired because I knew math and I could program. Chase hired me to run programs and perform data analysis of their credit card programs. I didn’t have to take any training classes, so they hired me.”
“Get a hard, tangible skill. You want to be able to walk into an employer and contribute on day one.”
Jan urges students to make contacts. “Take advantage of any and all networking opportunities,” she says. “A degree is important, but who you know is still critical. The connections that Pace alumni can offer are incredibly valuable.”
Her concentration was in strategic management, and the coursework helped bridge her academic and professional experience.
“I left the Federal Reserve after getting my MBA and went to Banker’s Trust,” says Jan. “At Banker’s Trust, my position allowed me to oversee project management. The classes and projects at Pace were very applicable to the workplace–they gave me the confidence that I needed to thrive. As an undergraduate, it was difficult to see how my classes would translate to the professional setting, but when I went over to Banker’s Trust, my Pace education immediately served me well and gave me an advantage.”
Today, the couple is focused on philanthropy and community service. Jan retired from a career in Global Institutional Sales at Deutsche Bank and now serves as the Vice President of NOVA Hope for Haiti, a nonprofit organization that provides sustained medical care for people in southwest Haiti.
“Tom and I are both active volunteers,” says Jan. “We frequently go to Haiti on medical missions. We understand the importance of giving back, and not necessarily getting paid for your work.”
At Pace, they serve on the Dyson College Board of Advisors and established the Tom and Jan Mansley Endowed Scholarship Fund.
“Giving back means so much to us,” Tom says. “Pace gave me a great education, and made it affordable as well. I want to ensure that the next guy has the same opportunity that I did. It really is a great circle of giving.”
Favorite food? Tom: White chicken parmesan
Are you a collector? Jan: I collect nativity scenes. I probably have at least 25.
What do you like to read? Jan: I’m a Stephen King freak. Tom: I still read books on math; it helps explain how the universe works.