Web exclusive: Liberty Mutual pres says avoid drudgery to succeed

Web exclusive: Liberty Mutual pres says avoid drudgery to succeed

By Casey Ramsdell

The key to succeeding in business is avoiding drudgery in daily work, said Gary Gregg, president of agency markets for the Liberty Mutual Group, who spoke to students Wednesday about his personal experiences and how he gained success.

“If it is drudgery, do what you have to do to change that because you won’t be successful,” Gregg, a Northeastern alumnus, said. “There is no rewind button on life, it is always fast forward. You can start over, but you can’t go back.”

At the “Sustaining Success Forum” in the Raytheon Amphitheatre, he gave tips about how to succeed in the ever-changing world of business and discussed his career, which began at the KPMG accounting firm.

Gregg began working at Liberty Mutual Group in 1989 and held many positions in the company before becoming president of agency markets in 2005.

“I do believe that running a business is something to aspire to,” Gregg said to the room, which was primarily made up of students in the business school. “Once someone runs a business, they never want to do anything else.”

Gregg said many people ask him what he looks for in a president of one of the operating groups that he oversees. A person with outstanding performance in a particular discipline and someone who has experienced different roles and geographies across the company are among things he looks for.

He stressed that a good academic record in college is also extremely important and congratulated the members of the business school, which was recently ranked 26th on a list of the top business schools in the country by Business Week.

“[There is] tremendous opportunity with the faculty and co-op opportunities,” Gregg said.

He advised students to be inquisitive and to want to learn and grow. “Sustaining success in today’s business world is a constant battle,” he said. “You can never stop investing in yourself.”

Maeve Dowling, a junior business major, came to the forum as part of her co-op class and found many of Gregg’s points interesting. Dowling liked the way Gregg spoke informally to the audience and talked about how business has changed since he first started.

“He said how everyone has to adapt now, you don’t stay at one company for life,” Dowling said.

Liberty Mutual Group is a Fortune 150 company that consits of about 32,000 employees around the country. The company has hired 48 graduates of the Northeastern business school in the past three years and also offers co-op jobs in some of their departments.

Joe Allen, a senior math major, hopes to work at Liberty Mutual Group in the future and said he found Gregg’s talk informative.

Allen said he found Gregg’s “whole formula for success” helpful for his future job search, including “focusing on the field as well as the office” and “the idea of getting a broad scope of experiences.”

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