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Mike Mansell, MBA 2019

Former Reinsurance Executive Shares Perspective on Successful Leadership with MBA Students

by Mike Mansell Friday, January 19, 2018

On Wednesday, November 1, 2017 the Wisconsin School of Business (WSB) was fortunate to have alumnus Patrick Thiele (BBA, '72, MS, '75) meet with students and share some wisdom following his own successful career as a business executive. Patrick’s storied career spans an array of positions in the financial services industry, investment industry, and most recently the insurance industry. In 2010, Patrick retired from his position as President and CEO of PartnerRe after a successful ten years at the helm, a self-imposed tenure limit. During his time as CEO, he managed overall growth in written premiums, despite responding to several significant loss events, including 9/11 and hurricane Katrina.

While speaking with students, Patrick offered both general and industry specific career advice. One major takeaway from his discussion was the importance of being curious and knowing your business and organization. Patrick shared several suggestions to assist with learning, but the one that stood out most was to interact with coworkers at or near your level from other departments within your organization.

Patrick’s experiences across the investment and insurance industries allowed him to offer nice parallels between the industries. With students from multiple Wisconsin MBA specializations, including risk management and insurance, applied security analysis, and corporate finance, it was especially interesting to hear Patrick compare these fields. For example, Patrick discussed how insurance and investment firms are both fundamentally focused on the follow three aspects:

  1. Risk Assessment (underwriting or securities analysis)
  2. Valuation (pricing)
  3. Portfolio Management

As students looking to impact our future industries, we are fortunate to have alumni like Patrick who are willing to share lessons that he’s accumulated throughout his successful career.

Thanks again to Patrick for his extensive contributions to the Wisconsin School of Business and enhancing the Wisconsin MBA experience for so many.