Amy Oldenburg – Managing Director, Investment Management

To succeed in business and in life, says Amy Oldenburg, who leads the Emerging Markets Equity team at Morgan Stanley Investment Management, you need stamina and strength to overcome the obstacles that come your way and flexibility to acquire new skills to face future challenges. Oldenburg knows a thing or two about difficult situations. A few years ago, she climbed Mount Rainier in Washington State and endured a day at the top of 20 hours. After waking up at 2am to a sunrise at the summit at 6am, the descent involved navigating a melting path that required constantly adapting to changing terrain.

“My background in running marathons and mountaineering has been essential in navigating and enduring the long-term nature of investment activities, market volatility and international travel that is essential for this role,” says -she. Here, she talks more about how that commitment has helped her succeed in her more than 20 years at Morgan Stanley.

I supervise investors based in New York, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Singapore, Mumbai and Riyadh who manage over 15 investment strategies in international and emerging markets. My time is focused on building top performing investment teams, launching unique new investment products, and managing all elements of a global investment business.

Nothing like this role. You need to be flexible, as the job description is constantly changing, and the business day and markets we cover cross many time zones.

I started my career working for a tech company and thought I would be doing this for the rest of my life, until the dot com bubble burst in 2000. I found my way to Morgan Stanley and the Over the past 21 years, I’ve realized that my appreciation and interest in technology and innovation has become my superpower, not a loss.

This made it possible to be open to new challenges and to actively meet new people within the company. As a trader, I showed that I could speak effectively with portfolio managers about trading and the markets, so I quickly landed a more client-oriented position. Since then, I have held various positions within the organization. The opportunity for internal mobility and my efforts to develop my network of relationships across the organization have been essential in preparing me for my responsibilities today.

There is a good level of competition within the Emerging Markets Equity team, and many of us have some sort of sports background, which I think is no coincidence. I also think that playing sports helps prepare you to step out of your comfort zone. Since joining Morgan Stanley in 2001, I have held roles in currency trading, portfolio management support, and product development and strategy before joining the emerging markets business.

To have a competitive advantage, we must not only embrace new technologies, but be at the forefront of their development. Part of that involves a mindset shift about the people we hire and their skills. All industries must accept new competition and possible disruption, and this business is no different. By ensuring that our employees are advocates and sponsors of innovation, we are better able to adapt to changing trends.

Be curious and engage in a lifetime of continuous learning. Our markets and business have changed so much over the years that you need to adapt and learn the latest tools and technologies to be successful. Moreover, the experience builds on itself. It is difficult to rush the process. Appreciate each experience as an opportunity to learn your likes and dislikes. Sometimes the next opportunity comes in a year, other times in three or four years. Don’t get caught up in following a specific topic or timeline – life is hard to predict. Keep yourself positioned for luck, stay open-minded, offer help, be kind. The best opportunities will appear in the most unexpected places.

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