Getting Involved, Understanding Needs, Taking Action
"When I finished my undergraduate degree in political science and economics, I was essentially unemployable," laughs Dave Breazzano, MBA '80. Today, he is president and chief investment officer of DDJ Capital Management, LLC, which he co-founded in 1996. He points to his Cornell MBA in finance and accounting as a significant factor in his success.
In gratitude for what he gained here, Breazzano has established the Breazzano Family Assistant Professorship of Management. As his involvement with the Johnson School has grown over the past several years—in 2007 he joined the Advisory Council—he has become increasingly aware of its issues and challenges. One of the most critical is the retirement of senior faculty. "We need the best faculty to attract, teach, and graduate the best students," he says. "Since we compete with other top schools for top talent, we need additional resources."
In addition to endowing the faculty chair, Breazzano has made generous gifts to the Annual Fund for many years. In this difficult year, he increased his annual gift.
Breazzano has been a regular guest lecturer in Professor Jerry Hass's classes in bankruptcies over the years, in both Ithaca and Palisades. He's also involved with the Boston Alumni Club, mentoring and offering career advice to young alumni and current students.
Throughout a career that has included stints in New York Life, First Investors, T. Rowe Price, and Fidelity, Breazzano explains that he continued to apply the knowledge and problem-solving skills he developed at Cornell. "Ultimately, I acted on my entrepreneurial spirit," he says. "My Johnson School education gave me the confidence to start my own firm. Early in my career, I gravitated to the bankruptcy and distress world because I could apply an academic approach to creating solutions when a traditional approach led to the bankruptcy."
The Johnson School has just welcomed the next generation of Breazzanos. Dave's oldest son, Jeremy, considered applying to only one school. He is now a member of our MBA class of 2011.
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