2020 Best & Brightest EMBAs: Julie M. Cochran, Yale School of Management

Julie M. Cochran

Yale School of Management

“Lifelong learner, passionate about channeling capital in the pursuit of solutions to global problems.”

Age: 58

Hometown: Westport, Connecticut

Family Members: Stephen Grevious (spouse), Byron Grevious (son)

Fun fact about yourself: Can often be found playing ping pong on the roof of the house (and always has an ample supply of ping pong balls!).

Undergraduate School and Degree: Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, BA (Government)

Where are you currently working? XT Capital Partners, Founder & CEO & Maistrie LLC, Founder & CEO

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles: For 13 years, life has been busy—work, travel for work, church, and, most of all, raising a very active 13-year-old son. We bike, run, ski, play tennis, ping pong, paddle, golf, waterski/wakeboard, and every other sport we can think of to keep healthy and active.

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? I was co-chair of the 2nd Annual Yale Impact Investing Conference, April 2019. I feel I played a pivotal role in defining the conference theme, identifying, and securing the speakers, and keeping our student-led team motivated to complete the mission. We learned the Yale way, no road map, and no outside direction. Therefore, the Conference reflected a hundred percent of our collaborative abilities. Taking a leadership role in guiding my classmates seemed like a natural thing to do and is something I have done throughout my business and personal life.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? Building a business has been financially rewarding. However, overcoming challenges along the way has taught me skills that give me the confidence to believe in myself and my ability to find solutions to complicated business issues and effectively lead teams. We bootstrapped our company and reinvested every year in people and technology to keep up with the professional requirements of being in a regulated business. I am proud that we never compromised our standards and built a company with an outstanding reputation and track record of excellence.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Nils Rudi, I am in awe of people who can take complicated subject matter, mainly related to quantitative problem solving, and break it down in such an approachable way. Nils has many gifts, the one I most admire is his ability to teach probability in a non-condescending way to non-quantitatively minded MBA students.

Why did you choose this school’s executive MBA program? The mission of the school made it stand out from all other EMBA/MBA programs.

What did you enjoy most about business school in general? I loved the intensity of the interaction with a diverse group of professionals. I learned from my classmates during class, breaks, study groups, and even when we had the chance to relax and recuperate.

What is the biggest lesson you gained during your MBA, and how did you apply it at work? Listen first. Wait for people who typically take longer to speak up—they often have the best ideas. I use this in every encounter I have with my colleagues, friends, and family.

Give us a story during your time as an executive MBA on how you were able to juggle work, family, and education? I spent the first year of the program commuting to New York and juggling my laptop to do schoolwork was a challenge. I tried all sorts of techniques for time management, such as listening to podcasts while running or taking very early or mid-morning trains to get a little extra space for schoolwork. The most natural solution was letting people know, colleagues, friends, and family when I could not be effective doing it all. People liked honesty and humility. Too often, we pretend we can be perfect at everything all the time.

What advice would you give to a student looking to enter an executive MBA program? Make sure you have a support system that values honesty and will support you when you cannot give 100% to everything at the same time. Also, learn to compromise on something, and do not let it be relationships!

What is the biggest myth about going back to school? For me, it was the myth that my brain was no longer going to be able to process things as quickly as it did when I was 20, 30, 40 … Sure, certain areas took me longer than my younger classmates. Still, there were other subjects/assignments where I might have been able to guest lecture, given my professional expertise and experiences.

What was your biggest regret in business school? I wish that I spent more time getting to know every one of my classmates a little better than I did.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Cynthia Taub. She has a quiet strength that I strive to emulate. She is thoughtful and sincere, and I watched as she grew more confident and willing to express her insights, and that was inspiring. We benefitted from knowing her, and it was evident that she valued the experience.

“I knew I wanted to go to business school when…I realized if I didn’t do it now, I never would.”

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? I went to Yale to build upon the skills I have picked up during a 30+ year career in finance. I was hoping to reinforce my knowledge, improve my leadership capabilities, and be inspired by professors, classmates, and the Yale Community-at large. For the next ten years, I would like to continue in finance, focused on channeling capital to be a force for good. Upon retirement, I hope to use my experience and expertise as a valued member of profit and non-profit boards.

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? Someone passionate about learning and using her skills and expertise in finance as a force for good.

What are the top two items on your bucket list? Live a healthy, long life to watch my child reach adulthood. Take a month-long biking trip with my husband.

What made Julie such an invaluable addition to the class of 2020?

Julie has many years of experience in asset management and wide-ranging experience in international equities, private equity, real estate, and hedge funds. She brought all these into classrooms to share with her classmates and to provide an additional level of depth to the discussions.

Julie is also extremely motivated to explore areas that interest her and she thinks to be important. She did an independent study under my supervision on opportunity zone and organic agriculture. Through this research, she not only showed her ability to think broadly and deeply, but also her ambition and desire to make real changes to investor behaviors and to help farmers.

Julie continues to stretch herself by engaging with the broader Yale community through her dedicated involvement with the Yale Impact Investment Conference.”

Song Ma
Assistant Professor of Finance

DON’T MISS: THE FULL LIST OF THE TOP 100 BEST & BRIGHTEST EXECUTIVE MBAS OF 2020

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