It was a book written by legendary investor Peter Lynch WG68 that jump-started my shift from pharmaceuticals to growth investing. I had pored over One Up on Wall Street while working as a chemist at Procter & Gamble, where I had been researching new anti-infectives and osteoporosis treatments. Back then, I didn’t know much about investing, only that you put money in a savings account instead of a checking account if you want to earn interest. But something about Lynch’s words sparked a change within me. His lessons for average investors opened my eyes to an industry that was in many aspects different from the one I was working in, but in others very much the same. The parallels were hard not to draw, from the ways experts in both fields work to uncover fresh data each day to how they handle uncertainty and come to conclusions. After many years of living and breathing chemistry, I realized I was ready for my next challenge.
Not long after I made my first investment — in biopharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences, Inc., based on Lynch’s advice to start investing in familiar areas — I enrolled at Wharton. The strong support from my family, especially my wife, Michelle, made it possible. At Wharton, my worldview expanded dramatically. Macroeconomics classes with professor Jeremy Siegel — including real-time discussions of complex interplays between interest-rate changes, geopolitical events, and equity- and bond-market movements — vividly demonstrated how academic theories can be applied to understanding real-world events and, in turn, inform business decisions. I was so swept up by Professor Siegel’s class that I became a teaching assistant for him the following year. Another class that significantly impacted my view of the world was Business Strategy, which equipped me with the big-picture mind-set to think about why certain companies and industries are poised for growth while others aren’t. Altogether, ample opportunities at Wharton presented me with lots of space to explore my new career path.
Since my time at the School, I have enjoyed more than two decades at Weatherbie Capital, LLC, a Boston-based growth-investment firm where I currently serve as chief investment officer. In those years, I have been especially proud of the improvements we’ve made to our investment process and philosophy as well as the development of a new investment strategy to continually drive investor value. Each of those achievements has benefited from the knowledge I gained from Wharton professors and classmates, colleagues, and the many influential investors like Peter Lynch who have shaped my views over the years, all of whom, together, I consider my guiding stars.
Published as “Pharma to Financial Tables” in the Fall/Winter 2023 issue of Wharton Magazine.