Sound Advice

Darrell Pacheco

Photo by Joe O'Neill.

Darrell Pacheco '12 is an investment advisor with the Vanguard Group in the greater Philadelphia area, where he helps clients with investment decisions. It's a career he loves, and it gives him a lot of insight into both personal finance and how people look at it. Read on to find out why investors are often an irrational bunch, how the former political-science major gives back to his alma mater and why Neil deGrasse Tyson keeps him looking skyward.

Can you speak to how Dickinson’s useful liberal-arts education applies to your career? 

Intellectual curiosity, using an interdisciplinary approach to problem solving and a passion for connecting with others who are different than me in any way. Those are just a few examples of the dividends that my liberal-arts education from Dickinson continues to pay. I was challenged academically in the classroom, my peers were driven and highly accomplished, and Dickinson taught me to question the world around me and to always seek out multiple points of view. I credit much of my personal growth and professional confidence to my time spent at Dickinson. 

What was your favorite activity/organization at Dickinson?

I enjoyed the outdoor spaces on campus. I loved spending time on a red Adirondack chair on a random evening with friends.

What jumps out as a great memory from your time at Dickinson?

It boils down to two events. I enjoyed Convocation quite a bit. I vividly remember feeling so inspired from the rousing speech given by then President [William G.] Durden ['71]. Also, Commencement was an incredible day. I’m a first-generation college graduate, so that moment descending those limestone steps had a special meaning to me.

 Video by Joe O'Neill.

How do you stay involved with Dickinson?

Currently, I serve on the Alumni Council and thoroughly enjoy my time there. Additionally, I try to attend regional events and accepted-student or recruiting events as often as I can. I also volunteer with the Career Center, consulting with students regarding finance careers or opportunities at my firm. The Dickinson community has allowed me to become a part of something much bigger than myself. I believe in the mission of the college and our brand of liberal-arts education, and I try my best to give back to Dickinson in any way that I can.

What does your current work entail, and what about it interests you most?

My current work entails assisting advisory clients with making prudent investment decisions and navigating the capital markets. I get to witness behavioral finance up close and on display. Investment decisions are not always made objectively. Investors are much more loss averse than they are celebratory by accumulating investment gains. Fascinating work.

What is the most challenging part of your career?

Keeping up-to-date with the sheer amount of information that is in circulation each day. I’m a prodigious reader of the The Wall Street Journal, Business Insider, The New York Times and several industry-specific publications. As a political-science major, I did my fair share of reading as a student. I’m certain though, on average, that I read much more than when I was a student. Given the Dickinson workload, that’s saying something!

What’s your favorite thing to do on a Saturday night?

Chilly weekends in the Northeast, it’s spending time with my beautiful wife and watching Netflix on our couch. During the summer months, it would be at an outdoor beer garden in Philadelphia.

If you could have dinner with a famous person, living or dead, who would it be?

It would definitely be Neil deGrasse Tyson. I am terribly fascinated by space, astronomy and astrophysics. I’m not particularly a student of these subjects, but I love reading and watching documentaries relating to space science. I credit my Dickinson education for that intellectual curiosity. 

You just built a time machine: Where and when do you go?

A century into the future to see what we as the human race have accomplished. Perhaps we would have started populating other planets, found clean and cheap alternative fuel or finally learned to get along with one another.

You’re going to live on an island by yourself for a year: What books, albums and movies do you take with you?

Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse (novel); Disclosure’s Settle (album); The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (movie).

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Published May 4, 2015