When Bruce R. Bent II entered Northeastern University in 1986 as a business major, he couldn’t imagine that he’d ultimately graduate with a BS in philosophy. Like that of many students, Bruce’s path changed during his time here, and the lessons he learned in the classroom and the community were invaluable. Bruce is a successful investor, business leader, and innovator —and he credits much of his success to his liberal arts education at Northeastern and the resulting understanding of diverse cultures and belief systems.
“Through my studies in philosophy and eastern religion, I realized there were new ways I could think about things, and that everybody doesn’t think the same way. This to me was enlightening: the realization that people process information and communicate differently based upon their fundamental belief systems,” Bruce says.
Bruce is currently Vice Chairman and President of Double Rock Corporation, one of the leading financial services and financial technologies companies in the United States. Growing up in the asset management business owned by his family, known as The Reserve, Bruce learned the ins and outs of working with financial products. His father Bruce Bent is world renowned for co-inventing the first money market mutual fund in 1970. At 27, Bruce took on the role of leading The Reserve from his father, and helped the business grow its assets over the next 17 years from $4 billion to $130 billion. Under his leadership, The Reserve gained significant market share and become one of the 10 largest cash management complexes in the world.
Bruce has his name on over 60 financial patents and directly connects his success to his philosophy degree from Northeastern.
“The question for everyone was: other than becoming a philosophy professor, how do you translate a philosophy degree into making a living? After a few decades in business, my personal opinion is that patents are a wonderful example of how you can create real world value from the realm of philosophy or a pure idea.”
After a recent visit with Northeastern students and faculty working on research projects and building entrepreneurship skills, he came away impressed. The growth of the liberal arts at Northeastern is a welcome development for Bruce, who believes that a combination of liberal arts skills and technical proficiencies, further developed through experiential opportunities, allows students to thrive in their chosen field. “An education needs to be applicable in the real world,” he says. “That has always been Northeastern’s signature. The only thing that’s changed here is that the university’s success has been magnified tremendously.”