Alumni Profile: Steven Abrahams (’89PhD, Psychology)

February 05, 2020
Steven Abrahams

What is your current role/job title?
Senior Managing Director and Head of Strategy, Amherst Pierpont Securities LLC.

What drew you to your field?
Investing has a lot in common with good research in psychology, or good research in any discipline, for that matter. You have to develop a strong theory of why a market is showing certain behavior. You have to test that theory with data. And then you have to clearly communicate results. One of the best things about investing is that if the data support the theory, you can act on them immediately.

What lessons from graduate school have you found useful in your professional life?
Besides the technical skills, Columbia taught me that a final, definitive answer to any really interesting question is hard to find. The questions in business change constantly, so Columbia taught me to bring a healthy amount of thought and flexibility to answering them.

What skill has unexpectedly helped you in your career?
Writing clearly. No good idea gets very far unless you can explain it to someone else.

What is your favorite memory from your graduate years?
Talking shop at the West End with fellow grad students.

What are your passions outside of your work?
Family, jazz, and essays by Joan Didion or any other good writer.

What is your advice for current GSAS students?
The skills and knowledge you pick up at Columbia have power and application across more areas than you might suspect. Think broadly about where you can use them to improve the world.

What is next for you, professionally or otherwise?
I'm thinking less about the next thing and more about doing the current thing well. The next thing always takes care of itself.