Since he made his first stock market investment in the 6th grade, Robert Kuppenheimer ’69 has continued to pursue his passion for investing. Today he serves as the Vice President and Managing Director of Distribution Development for Nuveen Investments, a global provider of investment services to institutions and high-net-worth investors and the consultants and financial advisors who serve them.
Kuppenheimer knew when he graduated high school that he needed an education to pursue a career in the investment industry. And Nichols provided that. Kuppenheimer credits Nichols with advancing his business knowledge and his professors with nurturing his passion for business. “I’d like to think that I became a part of their lives and that they reveled in my success as an individual and a business person. I still carry those memories with me today,” he recalls. “Through that time at Nichols, I experienced a sense of community, an experience similar to what students will find when they enter the business world.”
Between the summer of his sophomore and junior year at Nichols, Kuppenheimer lined up a summer internship at PaineWebber, an experience he recommends to all students. “I found out that as a student I had a much better chance of finding a job at a company if I had interned there. It got me in the door,” he says. “By the time I got to my senior year, PaineWebber made me an offer for a job after graduation.”
Kuppenheimer worked for PaineWebber for four years before leaving to join New England Life. In 1976 he joined Nuveen as head of their distribution through financial planners and insurance agents and built their business to a billion dollars in sales a year by 1985. In 1996, Kuppenheimer moved to California to head up Nuveen’s sales and marketing division. He currently is responsible for the sales of closed-end funds nation-wide and works with the syndicate desks for national and regional firms in that capacity.
During his career in securities, Kuppenheimer has seen tremendous change. "When I started at Nuveen Investments we sold only Municipal Bond Unit Investment Trusts,” he states. “Now we sell stocks, bonds, commodities, currencies and much more. The securities industry has grown tremendously over the past 25-30 years.”
While Kuppenheimer has continued in his successful career path, he has also recognized the need to give back to Nichols. As a longtime trustee of the College, yearly he recognizes the work of Nichols faculty as well as the current recipients of the scholarships that bear his name. “Nichols was there when I needed them, and I want to give back to help the college grow its name not only throughout the Northeast but throughout the United States and beyond,” he says.