Millikin University alumnus Brian Taylor '86 returned to campus on May 1 to share his success story with undergraduates in Millikin's Tabor School of Business. Taylor also received Millikin's first Excellence in Entrepreneurship Award on May 1 during an evening ceremony held at the Country Club of Decatur.
Taylor was recognized for exemplifying the best in entrepreneurship thought and action as the founder and chief executive officer of Pine River Capital Management in Minnetonka, Minn.
"I enjoyed the experience of attending Millikin, and I ended up studying what I found most interesting which was math and accounting," said Taylor as he was addressing Millikin business undergrads. "When it comes to business it's about being a leader, and in the end you have to have a lot of conviction in yourself, drive, and willingness to work hard. My business credo has always been to be honest with yourself and others, work hard, and do your best in making good decisions."
Taylor founded Pine River Capital Management in 2002, believing that a new institution could thrive if it embraces strong core values and a drive to constantly improve. As chief executive officer, Brian is responsible for management of the business and oversight of the funds. He is the chairman of Pine River's Executive Committee and Operating Committee, and serves on the firm's Compliance, Risk Management, Terms, and Hiring Committees. Brian is also the chairman of Two Harbors Investment Corp. and Silver Bay Realty Trust Corp.
"We have about 450 people at the company and eight offices around the world," said Taylor. "The important thing to me is that we never lose our entrepreneurial spirit and that we are always driven to do better, which is our company's theme. It's also important to be fundamentally driven and to remember that value generally wins over time."
Prior to Pine River's inception, Brian began his career at EBF & Associates in 1988 as a trader, becoming head of the convertible arbitrage group in 1994, and was named a partner in 1997 prior to his departure in 2002. His responsibilities included portfolio management, marketing, product development, and trading information systems development. He received a Master of Business Administration degree with a concentration in finance and a specialization in statistics from the University of Chicago in 1988. He earned his bachelor's degree in accounting with a minor in mathematics summa cum laude from Millikin University in 1986.
"Do what you enjoy," said Taylor. "Start to find companies that are interesting to you and there will be opportunities wherever you look."
Millikin's Excellence in Entrepreneurship Award recognizes and celebrates the entrepreneurship achievements of one of its most distinguished alumni.
Sharon Alpi, director of Millikin's Center for Entrepreneurship says, "What's really significant about Brian's visit is that he interacts with the students and helps share his story because that's what the students are aspiring to become in the professional world."
When asked about what he looks for in hiring an employee, Taylor says, "We want people that are going to be a good cultural fit. It's important to me to find people that will work hard, be intellectually honest, and be down to earth."