by Kristin Todd
Kenneth Zschappel could serve as a textbook example for climbing the proverbial corporate ladder. Perhaps his last name is tricky to pronounce correctly, but one can clearly understand how he reached the top ladder rung through dedication and unwavering business ethics.
As a 1990 Baylor graduate with a political science degree, Zschappel was a self-described “case in point” of not working in the field of his degree.
“When I attended Baylor, I thought that I wanted to be an attorney,” he said. “I eventually realized that stocks and investing held a deeper interest for me.”
Case closed. Zschappel’s interest led him to AIM Investments, where he began working in the operations department. He then moved to the investment department as a junior analyst. Zschappel did not stop there with his ascent.
“In early 1996, I was promoted to portfolio manager, and later that year I received a second promotion to senior portfolio manager,” he said. “In 2000, I became the lead manager of the AIM Constellation Fund and head of AIM’s Multicap Growth Team.”
With an impressive collection of job titles, Zschappel is quick to ecognize the foundation of his career.
“Integrity and ethics are the two most important aspects of any career,” he said. “At the end of the day, Wall Street is a very small place, and nothing is more important than your reputation.”
While maintaining his reputation and his clients’ trust, he must also handle the ups and downs of his daily job.
“The biggest difference in my career versus most other careers is that my job performance is measured and publicly scrutinized every day through my funds’ quoted NAVs (Net Asset Values),” Zschappel said. “Needless to say, it can be a humbling experience.”
Zschappel said the key to success in his life and the business world is all about balance.
“If you can keep life in perspective-God first, family second, career third-then you will quickly recognize when your life gets out of balance,” he said. “In the end, don’t let failure get you down, and don’t let success go to your head.”
By taking his own advice, Zschappel stands poised without tipping the scales while appreciating his chosen career path.
“Where else do you get to sit down with CEO’s and CFO’s of Fortune 500 companies to talk about their business, analyze the viability of their business strategy, determine the value of their company, and ultimately decide whether or not you want to own their business?” he said. “I wouldn’t want to do anything else.”