Possessing a B.A., a J.D. and an M.B.A. makes for an interesting journey, from Lexington and Athens, Ga., to Brussels and Moscow. That’s the path taken by Washington and Lee graduate Buck Wiley, of the Class of 1988, and it has led him to a career in investment and to an interview with Bloomberg Businessweek’s “How I Got Here” series.
Buck, who is the managing director of the Wiley Team of Merrill Lynch Wealth Management, in Atlanta, tells the publication he was “obsessed” with European history at W&L and took no business courses. He compares learning accounting to learning a foreign language: “It was hard but it made intuitive sense.”
He studied tax law and European currencies at the University of Brussels and wound up working for two firms in Moscow, including KPMG. “My department was run by a Texan, and our clients ranged from oil companies looking to enter the Soviet Union, to Australians, Germans, and the British,” Buck told the interviewer. “It was truly an international mix and I loved all the excitement.”
Back in Atlanta, he worked for Andrew Young, the civil rights leader and former mayor of Atlanta. Although he was home, Buck was still working in the international arena, “doing private equity work in emerging markets in Africa.” He’s been with Merrill Lynch since 2001.
History major Buck also provided encouraging advice for graduates of W&L’s Williams School of Commerce, Economics and Politics: “People coming out of business school think they need to go straight to the top. Don’t be afraid to start anywhere you can if it’s in the career path you want.”
You can read the entire interview here.