UST MBA Profile: Jeff Turrittin

Jeff Turrittin was admitted to the Evening UST MBA program for spring semester 2012. He was quickly identified as an outstanding candidate with excellent academic credentials, professional experience and a life story of perseverance through difficult circumstances.

Growing up in Plymouth, Minnesota, in the 1990s, Jeff remembers biking to the local store and buying baseball cards. But a more formative memory from his childhood is watching his mother pour over the business section of the newspaper, calculating rates of return and predicting growth on various stocks. As a 10-year-old, he was “so enthralled” by what his mother had taught him that he requested stock for Christmas. That holiday season, he became the proud owner of three shares of General Mills stock, which, he happily reports, are still dividend reinvesting.

Eight years later, Jeff chose to attend Gustavus Adolphus College, where he majored in geography with a minor in financial economics. In just three and a half years, Jeff completed his degree with a 3.4 GPA. What made this time in Jeff’s life all the more remarkable, however, was that he succeeded in his studies while facing tremendous health obstacles. In his words:

I was working out with a buddy and had a seizure in the weight room, later in the shower, then at investment club, and far too many more to remember.  Countless ambulance rides later I had to drop out of school for spring semester. Eventually, the Mayo Clinic was able to diagnose me with Neurosarcoidosis, and after massive quantities of steroids and endless MRIs, the situation became controlled and I was able to begin to get back to life.

Jeff took a lighter load that fall but was able to take a j-term trip that year to Belize and Guatemala to study sustainable development. These formative trips, along with the outpouring of support from the Gustavus community, inspired Jeff and his family to start a scholarship fund for students who would like to do a study abroad but are financially constrained. Thanks to this scholarship, one to two students are able to travel abroad each year.

Despite his health setbacks, Jeff graduated on time and began his career as a trading sales associate for GMAC-RFC. What ensued in the first six years of Jeff’s career was a series of “cliff dives,” as he put it. In 2007, the mortgage market crashed, and later, while working at Piper Jaffray, Bear Stearns went under and left the industry in chaos. In the midst of these career challenges, Jeff had surgery to replace an aortic heart valve.

Currently, Jeff is employed with Ameriprise Financial, and it is with great excitement that he has begun his UST MBA program. He said he has learned a tremendous amount about crisis management and survival in his lifetime, and he is optimistic his UST MBA will assist him to be better able to fight whatever battles lie ahead.