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Northeastern University

Gerry Coughlin, BA’89

Gerry Coughlin is the quintessential example of a Northeastern success story. Coming from a modest background, he came to Northeastern knowing the co-op program would give him the extra edge after graduation and help him hone a variety of skills necessary for lifelong success. Coughlin completed his fourth co-op with the financial services firm Morgan Stanley, where he was immediately hired after graduation. He spent the next 20 years of his career at the firm, quickly rising through company ranks to the executive level. As managing director, he helped to open up Asian markets in Hong Kong and Singapore before returning to Morgan Stanley’s World Headquarters in Manhattan. Coughlin left Morgan Stanley in 2008 to start his own business, Oakpoint Advisors, a firm specializing in hedge funds where he is now partner and CEO.

On his most important co-op: “I would say that the most prevalent, most relevant, experience of all my jobs was certainly my co-op at Morgan Stanley. That was for a couple of reasons. It led directly into a job offer at Morgan Stanley. I was ultimately hired into Morgan Stanley by a woman who was my manager’s manager when I was a co-op.”

On his responsibilities during co-op assignments: “It was a real job. It wasn’t just, ‘Hey, be around in case somebody needs to file something.’ I had a co-op job where I was responsible for consolidating the profit and the loss statements from all of the business units across fixed income where people did their own business unit P&L. I would have to aggregate all of the data and put it into a report that would be distributed to the senior most managers of the firm. At the end of the day they would look at it and say, ‘OK, this is where we made or lost in all of our different businesses across all different parts of the world.’ ”

On incorporating students in his new international start-up: “We definitely have plans to have the Middle East, Europe and Asia covered. What that means and who will be based where? We’re not sure. But without a doubt we’re going to cover that space. Subject to rules and regulations of local markets, we’d be open, willing, and anxious to put co-ops in any of those places where help is needed. We have high hopes for that.”

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