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Eric Noll: Relying on Friends and Family

Looking back, Wall Street CEO remembers how Vanderbilt him get ahead

Eric Noll
Former President & CEO, ConvergEx
Chief Executive Officer, Context Capital Partners

Vanderbilt MBA 1990

When Eric Noll arrived at Vanderbilt in the fall of 1988, he came with a toddler in tow — his daughter Allie.

Eric, now president and CEO of ConvergEx, a global brokerage and trading-related services company, realized during his second year of law school that he didn’t want to be a lawyer. So he quit and was working nights at UPS while his wife, Georgie, worked days at Ralph Lauren. The team at Owen told him if he came here, they’d get him through.

The Nolls created a patchwork of Eric’s classes, part-time jobs—Georgie had three—and caring for Allie. “They found me a job in library, they found scholarship money for me, they found a tutoring position in the EMBA program, they found me a part-time job as a research analyst for a small broker-dealer, they helped my wife find work in not only one place, but in three to help meet ends financially,” Eric says. “More importantly, they acted as advisors, friends and ultimately family to us.”

Not infrequently, something would fall through and Allie would accompany her dad to class. “One time, I had a job interview and no one to watch Allie. Peter Veruki (then director of planning and placement) took care of her,” Eric recalls. “I believe only in a school like Owen could that happen.”

When Eric crossed the stage at commencement, 3-year-old Allie escaped from her mom and spent the rest of the ceremony in her dad’s lap.

When he came to Vanderbilt, Eric says, “I had visions of becoming a big-time investment banker on Wall Street. Unfortunately for me, Wall Street had some other ideas.” However, through his relationship with Peter and through the relationship he forged over two years with Hans Stoll, his finance professor, he says “I discovered a career I had never known existed prior to coming to Owen—and would not have known had I not come to Owen.”  

Through them, Eric received an offer to work at the CBOE in strategic planning and new product development. “Through the strength of my education here,” he says, “the knowledge I gained with the accessibility and friendship of faculty members like Hans Stoll, Craig Lewis, Bob Whaley and others I was able to carve out a valuable, rewarding and ultimately successful career in market microstructure and the financial markets.”  

That first job at the CBOE, led Eric to the Philadelphia Stock Exchange, then to Susquehanna International Group, where he spent 16 years helping to build one of the largest and most successful market-making firms in the country. From there, he moved to NASDAQ, where he oversaw all of the regulated markets NASDAQ operated: three equity exchanges, three options exchanges, E-speed — the NASDAQ US Treasury platform — and one futures exchange. And all that took him to his current role as CEO of Convergex.  

When he returned to Owen as the commencement speaker, Allie was in the audience again, as she had been 26 years earlier. This time, she was one of the MBA graduates.

"They acted as advisors, friends and ultimately family to us.”