Burt Sheaffer ’87 was an economics major at Dickinson, and in textbook fashion he's now senior vice president at HSBC Bank USA, where he’s part of a global team that manages portfolios of currency derivatives. When he’s not busy with work (and even when he is), Sheaffer is an avid traveler and keeps in touch with friends he made at Dickinson, all while staying involved with the college itself in a number of ways.
What was your favorite activity at Dickinson?
My experience as a collegiate athlete as part of the men's basketball program. The overall lessons I learned and the friendships I formed have been an important part of my life as a student and an alum of Dickinson.
How do you stay involved with the college?
The easiest way is through friendships with classmates, former basketball teammates, fraternity brothers and several of the current Red Devil coaches. It is always enjoyable to share and update fellow alums on the new developments taking place in Carlisle. I also have become more involved as part of the Dickinson New York Regional Council as well as a volunteer alumni interviewer for local high school students applying to the college. Most recently I have connected with the Career Center at Dickinson when recruiting current students for either summer internships or full-time jobs. Connecting with and helping today’s students as they look to begin their careers has been a very rewarding experience.
What comes to mind as something unforgettable that you’ve done since you graduated?
The opportunities I have had to travel and meet interesting people throughout the world, both for leisure and for my career, have been amazing experiences. Exploring a new city or being immersed in a new culture firsthand is a great way to expand your own horizons and views.
Can you speak to how Dickinson’s useful liberal-arts approach helped you along your career path?
The liberal-arts education not only served as a well-rounded foundation for a lifetime of learning but helped me develop an open-minded, critical thinking approach that serves me well in today's global economy.
How did you get interested in your work, and what about it excites you most?
My interest in finance started as an economics major at Dickinson, developed further from work experience in the field and grew into a more specific career path through practical experience and further education. The opportunity to constantly learn, develop my skills and grow my knowledge is what keeps me motivated.
What does your work entail?
I work at an international bank as part of a global team to manage portfolios of currency derivatives. We make markets in derivative products for clients and customers of our global franchise and manage the risk in our portfolios in the 24-hour currency markets for the bank.
What is the most challenging part of the job?
The most challenging is also the most rewarding—the constantly changing and developing nature of the global marketplace. Continual movement in global markets and the complexities and challenges of managing derivatives risk in today’s environment can be both difficult and rewarding. It’s a fascinating time to be trading in global markets.
You just built a time machine: Where and when do you go?
Revolutionary Philadelphia to meet the Founding Fathers and participate in the formation of our new country, with the opportunity to meet Benjamin Rush.
If you could change one thing about your life, what would it be?
It would be great if I could have more hours in the day!
Published November 8, 2016