Nicole Richardson knew from an early age that she was destined for a career in corporate America. Today, the vice president of statistical modeling and analytics at the JP Morgan Chase Insurance Group points to her bachelor's degree in economics from RIT as one key to her success.
Richardson arrived at RIT in 1988 by way of Barnard College in search of a technically savvy economics education.
"The first computer course that was required of everyone was Survey of Computer Science, and I was impressed by that," Richardson says. "I knew that this was definitely the place I needed to be because whether you were a communication, economics or art major, you needed to understand computers."
Richardson credits her early computer training at RIT with her later ease in using other software programs as a graduate student at the University of Delaware and in the workforce. She also attributes RIT's rigorous economics curriculum with making her more prepared than most of her peers in her graduate cohort.
Richardson, who graduated from RIT's College of Liberal Arts in 1991, has worked in health care policy and market research with an emphasis on both the supply and the demand side. She joined JP Morgan Chase in 2000 as an assistant vice president in customer solutions and quickly advanced to vice president. In her current position, Richardson helps guide the insurance group's market strategy through analysis of mortgage portfolios and mortgage customers, as well as credit-risk analysis.
Studying customer behavior and economic trends taps Richardson's curiosity about methods of decision making under uncertain conditions. "This reflects the current markets of the real world," she says. "In day-to-day life, you make decisions based on what you think is complete information–until the next day. You can't put off decisions indefinitely, but you need to make decisions based on all the available good information."
Another skill Richardson learned at RIT enables her to thrive at her fast-paced, high-energy job. She traces her ability to perform in a demanding work environment to her years as an undergraduate juggling a full course load while working 30 hours a week.
"I would like to stress how valuable my RIT education has been," Richardson says. "Although I've always been interested in economics and wanted to study it, I think RIT shaped the path that I took by helping me develop the quantitative, analytic and computer skills necessary to succeed in corporate America.
RIT News & Events, October 21, 2004