Hans L. Christensen
B.S. '76 - Finance
Chief Executive Office - MJX Asset Management LLC
Minute with a Mastodon features our diverse and unique alumni through a series of questions. Take a minute, or a few, and get to know IPFW alumnus Hans L Christensen!
Q: How has your degree been beneficial to you and your career?
A: Beyond learning the rules of finance, I learned how they were applied in the real world. Once I entered the business world, changing from debit and credits to cash flow became easier to apply in the real world.
Q: How did you become interested in your field?
A: My parents both attended IU as business/finance majors - it is pretty straightforward to suggest if was part of the family tradition.
Q: What is the best career advice you were given?
A: Never stop learning. Fortunately I took that advise to heart. When I graduated from IU and even after my MBA, many corporate finance theories were just developing. Concepts such as CAPM and Black-Scholes were in their infancy and certainly not used in the business world in the early and mid-1970's. Without something called the internet, I went to libraries, got books and finance articles and even called the authors to review, understand and apply these new ideas being used in the fledgling high yield markets of the 1980's. The payoff was personally good, as I was able to use these concepts in my role as an experienced commercial lender and become involved in the new field of leveraged lending - which became my career.
Q: Was there anyone during your time at IPFW who acted as a mentor to you? A: Several professors had an important influence. Each was practicing professionals as well as instructors, and kept us all focused on learning so we could actually perform in our career. I was not a particularly "scholarly" student and had to work hard for grades. But going beyond the theory, I was taught how the things I learned were applied in the business world. Those skills allowed me to move forward in my career and importantly keep learning new ways to apply theory.
Q: What course(s) have you found to be most valuable in your professional life?
A: Finance and statistics - the latter turned out to be far more important than I imagined in college. Thankfully I kept my textbook and re-learned the methods to apply possible outcomes for investment and lending decisions. As noted in my career advice of "never stop learning" I found many reasons to go back to the building blocks of my education to allow further understanding of some pretty advanced concepts for a "B" student like myself.
Q: What would be your advice to someone who is considering IPFW (either as a new student or a returning adult)?
A: It is a great school and provided me with all the education I needed to start my career.
Q: What advice would you give to current IPFW students?
A: Work Hard - it doesn't get easier than you have it right now. Also, don't be afraid to try new or challenging classes. It helps you learn how to learn and often gives you a new perspective on your job. We are blessed to live in a society where you can take risks and "fail" without being ostracized by family, friends or even society. Just make sure you understand your downside, since you just might end up achieve that scenario.
Q: What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishments, both personally and professionally?
A: Professionally I think the best accomplishment has been to be in a position to encourage others to do more and better. I have seen many former subordinates achieve wonderful careers and I hope I provided them opportunities to learn and develop skills on their way. Personally I think my investor clients have felt secure in their decisions to work with our firm (so far) and I know it is not any easier today than any other time in my career to provide retirees and others that peace of mind.
Q: Where do you hope to be in ten years?
A: Working less than 60+ hours a week.
Q: How would you like to be remembered?
A: As a good and honest man.