Joe Gutman '81
Staying connected to Kellogg throughout his career
By Kari Richardson
Joe Gutman '81 has a secret for keeping his career energized: Connect with Kellogg School students as often as possible and maintain close ties with his business-school alma mater.
The Highland Park, Ill., resident and managing director of Grosvenor Capital Management has found the Evanston campus a convenient way station — literally and figuratively — on his commute to and from downtown Chicago.
"It's been very gratifying to contribute to and to be involved with Kellogg," Gutman says. "I get back much more than I give, whether it's by sharing the energy and excitement of the students or learning about the faculty's cutting-edge research."
Before joining Grosvenor, where he oversees the client group, Gutman worked for Goldman Sachs for 22 years, serving as head of the firm's institutional equities business in the Midwest for five years and as co-head of the firm's Chicago office from 1996 to 2002.
The give-and-take relationship that Gutman has developed with Kellogg faculty and students over the years allows him to share his real-world perspectives at campus events and student-recruiting opportunities. He is a member of the Kellogg Alumni Council North America and participates in the school's 360-Degree Leadership Assessment, an exercise that incoming students complete to help determine what kind of leaders they are and can become. He also speaks at student and industry conferences, and counsels and recruits students.
"Joe Gutman is enthusiastic and supportive of our efforts in leadership development at Kellogg," says Michelle L. Buck, a clinical professor of management and organizations who often invites Gutman to speak to her classes. "The students appreciate his insight, down-to-earth nature and generosity in contributing to their development."
Years ago, Gutman was in their shoes. As a young University of Illinois accounting graduate in 1979, Gutman had already been accepted to law school when he decided he wasn't ready for three more years of study. Shelving his law school plans, he took an accounting job with Coopers and Lybrand (now PricewaterhouseCoopers), which bought him more time to make an informed career decision.
It was during this time that Gutman was introduced to Carol Walnum, then Kellogg's director of career development, in a meeting that turned out to be a watershed moment in his professional life. He enrolled in Kellogg's One-Year (1Y) program in 1980 and began to prepare for the next step in his career.
"She opened up the business world for me," Gutman says of Walnum's influence. "She introduced me to people in the financial services industry and we kept in touch, which ultimately led to a job offer. I'll never forget how lucky I was to have someone spend that time with me."
Since then, Gutman has done his best to maintain a people-focused culture while ensuring that team and business goals are still met. It's not always easy, he admits, but the results make it worthwhile.
"In the business world, there are lots of different styles and many of them can be effective," Gutman says. "I prefer to create an environment that allows people to meet their personal and professional goals while meeting the business's bottom-line goals."
While work can be all-consuming, Gutman has always made time to give back. In addition to his contributions to Kellogg, he serves on the Board of Overseers at the University of Illinois College of Business and on the boards of Children's Memorial Hospital in Chicago, the Make a Better Place foundation and the Birthright Israel Foundation.
Gutman connects with Kellogg students on a frequent basis and says he is continually amazed by their abilities, energy and perspective. Their enthusiasm, he says, will fuel his own endeavors for many years to come.
This article originally appeared in the Summer 2010 issue of Kellogg World alumni magazine.