Build Your Career: 30 Years at Schwab with Robert K., VP Branch Manager.
By: Beau H., Content Manager
In the fast-paced world of finance, where trends and technologies come and go, it's a remarkable occasion to meet someone who has embraced change and stood the test of time. For over 30 years, VP Branch Manager Robert K. has taken his fascination with the stock market and used it to continually evolve his skill set – helping him to become a highly effective leader at Schwab and create positive outcomes for clients and employees alike.
Join us as we explore Robert’s path to a leadership position, discuss the things that nurtured his career growth, learn his advice for future finance professionals, and gather his thoughts on the importance of “finding your craft.”
Turning his childhood passion for finance into an impactful career
For VP Branch Manager Robert K., surpassing 30 years at Schwab was made possible by a mixture of good fortune, hard work, and a lifelong appreciation for finance. From an early age, his keen interest in the stock market led him to study its underlying mechanics through financial publications and querying his uncle, a stockbroker. “One of my earliest memories, from when I was about eight or nine years old, was that I wanted to be a stockbroker. I went as far as framing a company share I purchased on my wall, and regularly read the Wall Street Journal by the time I was 13.”
After graduating high school, Robert completed a degree that provided him with a holistic understanding of economics and developed his business acumen. Armed with new skills and knowledge, he secured a role at Schwab and took the first step down a career path he had dreamed of pursuing since childhood. “I started Schwab right out of college at 22 years-old, and I've been lucky enough to remain here for three decades.”
Growing with the company and becoming a leader
While Robert’s journey is a testament to his own perseverance, the influence of Schwab’s supportive environment also played a definitive part in his success. Now 12 years into his role as a Branch Manager serving the Reno community, he recalls how his trajectory at Schwab was aided by the opportunities that came with our company’s expansion – and how he used that momentum to help other colleagues progress in their own careers. “I became a Branch Manager in 1999, and at the time, Schwab had grown by leaps and bounds. With that growth came the ability for people to get into leadership roles, and I really enjoyed coaching Schwabbies and being partly responsible for their advancement,” he explains.
With a team of 18 consultants and service professionals working under him, Robert continues his tradition of offering mentorship and career coaching to his direct reports. This effort, which stems from a genuine care for making an impact in people’s lives, has the dual benefit of creating better outcomes for the clients he and his team serve every day. “I’m inspired by seeing people grow, and I've always considered my employees to be like clients – I actively try to help them succeed, just as our consultants are trying to help clients reach their unique financial goals.”
Robert’s advice for future finance professionals
When asked for his thoughts on how aspiring finance professionals should approach this line of work, Robert had this invaluable advice to offer:
“In today's world, there's so much information at your fingertips, which presents a great opportunity to learn about the stock market. For young candidates and college students, your success in this field will hinge on the interest you take in discovering what makes the markets behave the way they do.”
He continues, “use the wealth of resources available online to look at how economic and geopolitical factors cause a butterfly effect across the world, and how that translates to problems or opportunities in our markets. It’s such a fascinating, constantly moving, impossible-to-master subject – but if you like puzzles or piecing together complexities and take a genuine interest in learning, you’ll succeed in helping clients navigate their way through.”
Joining Schwab to change lives, but staying for the people and the professional challenges
Robert’s story is inseparable from the incredible colleagues and loyal clients who have contributed to his thriving tenure. Their shared successes and mutual support have made Schwab not just a workplace for him, but a true second home. While he initially came to our company to build his ideal career in finance and chase a lifelong passion, Robert quickly found that the relationships he built here were genuine and compelled him to stay for the long haul. He explains that “there are two reasons why I’ve stayed at Schwab for 30 years, with number one being the people I get to work with. I really enjoy my team and the region we’re in, my bosses, my managers, and my fellow leaders at Schwab. I also simply enjoy the Schwab culture and the people that we bring here - they're really quite interesting and want to do well for themselves and for others.”
He continues, highlighting how our collective ability to adapt and implement new and exciting approaches to finance have helped him experience unparalleled growth during his time here. “The second reason is that, at 30 years, I’ve essentially worked for five different companies at Schwab. We have reinvented ourselves and undergone massive changes in the way we serve clients, and that makes my role as a branch leader both interesting and challenging. I have had to become a different leader and grow my skills as the markets, Schwab, and our clients evolve.”The importance of “finding your craft”
Offering some final thoughts on his storied career at Schwab, Robert conveys the value of locating your passion in life. He considers himself lucky and blessed to have found his calling at a young age, and urges others to follow their interests when thinking about choosing a professional path. “I've said this several times to people in the hope that it inspires someone, but I look at my role and love for the stock market as a craft – for me, this is not a job. A job pays the bills, a career pays the bills plus, but a craft will ultimately be your greatest endeavor. Find your craft.”