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College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences

Department of Psychology

Psychology Matters

Alumni Matters

cacciamatta By Gianmarco Cacciamatta
DU Psychology Alumn, Class of 2008




After graduating in the summer of 2008, during the financial meltdown, I became increasingly uninspired by the income potential that an undergraduate degree in psychology offered. Can you relate? Today, I am a full equity partner in one of the largest financial services firms in North America. I started out recruiting talent to the firm, then transitioned into financial planning for young families, began to work on increasingly complex family dynamics and corporate structures, and today lead a humble team that is regionally recognized for our work with humble to successful clients. How can someone with a degree in psychology make a successful career in financial services?

I never imagined that a major financial services firm would covet my degree in psychology. Today, corporate culture lacks productive empathy. Either people meekly accept mediocrity or lay down a draconian culture of results at all costs. Ironically, some executives write five-figure checks quarterly to learn psychology. They just call this study Self-Development, which – for better or worse – for often looks and feels like pseudoscience. Don't get me wrong, Tony Robin's is basically a behavioral psychologist, while Steve Siebold practices Freudian era talk therapy, and John Proctor focuses on the general abnormality in people's relationship with money and success. Seriously, take a closer look and you might find that the most successful executive or self-development gurus fall into either a stereotypical era of psychology or field of clinical study or experimentation.

I feel like we, my team and I, know a little more than when we started, however. We do our best to identify what got us this far in the hopes that we can better ourselves and our community. Although anecdotal, I attribute my success in a very cold industry to the humanism that a foundation in psychology allows me. I may not apply specific working theories or tempered neuroscience to my daily work. I would argue, though, that helping our clients understand what keeps them up at night financially while providing solutions based on healthy financial goals and dreams separates us from many advisors. Additionally, leading and developing teams of professionals by focusing on their individual attributes and family desires instead of traditional rewards and punishments creates a culture of tight-knit brothers and sisters truly devoted to achieving greatness as an organization for our community. What could a greater practical understanding and daily implementation of psychology offer America in 2019?