June 29, 2017
From the outside, being part of a family business can appear to be a cakewalk.
“When I tell people I work for my family business, they say, ‘Oh you have it easy. You don’t have to work.’ I kind of look at it the opposite way altogether. I think it motivates me to work harder,” said Taylor Rooke, a 2011 graduate of the MBA program at the West Virginia University College of Business and Economics. “I’m lucky enough to be able to work for my family business. I think the day that I become complacent and I say, ‘Oh, yeah, I don’t have to work as hard because my name is on the door,’ I should probably go look for another job.”
Beginning in 2014, Rooke took on the role as vice president of Rooke Fiduciary Management in Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania, a private trust company which specializes in the investment management of publicly held securities and the oversight of a multitude of trust investments.
Rooke emphasized that the MBA program made a significant impact on his life and career, and hopes that same education continues to help students strive to make their dreams come true. One way he is helping to ensure this is through generosity and support in the form of a gift to the MBA program.
“I want to support things that have helped me get to where I am, and so, education is obviously key. I enjoyed and appreciated my opportunity to go [to WVU]. I’m lucky enough to have the opportunity to give back, so to be able to do that is very satisfying for me,” he said. “I think it’s important for people who use the skills, the knowledge and the relationships they’ve learned, in this specific case at an institution, and have gotten success from it, whatever that success may be, to give back to that institution.”
In this business, Rooke says it’s all about the people – there’s plenty of money out there and people trying to put money to work, but the human capital is what is going to either make or break a business.
“I think I’m pretty good at kind of being able to relate to people and build relationships. And that’s something that I value and work to improve on daily,” he said.
Prior to joining the family business, Rooke was an analyst for Larsen MacColl Partners in Radnor, Pennsylvania, where he was charged with investing in small business with clear growth opportunities with good management teams.
But taking it back even further, Rooke’s path to the business world was distinct. Growing up around the industry, Rooke said he wasn’t pressured to enter into the financial sector, but that it felt natural. In 2010, he earned his undergraduate from Fairfield University in Fairfield, Connecticut. With the state of the economy at that time, he went directly into the MBA program at B&E.
“Obviously with everything that happened in 2008-09, there weren’t a ton of jobs out there,” he said. “Still, at that point, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do. In talking to my dad, he mentioned, ‘Don’t rush to get into the business world. If you could further your education, that’s great.’”
And that education, Rooke says, combined with his strong work ethic and passion for this line of work, has really played a major role in his path to success.
“I still use many of the skills that I learned [in the MBA program] now. It’s interesting — I think the most helpful information I learned was probably case studies and kind of what not to do versus what to do. You learn just as much from the bad and the good,” he said. “But to be able to get the overall, well-rounded MBA and have a glimpse of everything – it gives you the right foundation to go into the business world and succeed. When I was living it, I didn’t understand or appreciate how much it was going to help. But when I got into the business world, it was very clear how beneficial those things were.”
Rooke’s life is not all about monetary investments; it is also about the investment of time – quality time with his wife, their two-year-old son and the impending arrival of their daughter this September.