Alumni Spotlight

Jassen Trenkow '04

Born in Bulgaria and raised in Germany, Jassen Trenkow ’04 was a Sergeant in the German Military Police and a member of the NATO-led Stabilization Force (SFOR) in Bosnia-Herzegovina before he began his studies at Pace in New York City.

“What drew me to Pace was its physical proximity and programmatic connectivity to Wall Street and the Pace Co-Op program and its track record of student placement,” says Jassen.

The difference between military life and college was evident immediately. In fact, one of Jassen’s fondest memories from Pace is walking into the “dorm” on his first day.

“Only 11 days after being discharged from the military where I bunked with 10-15 guys in a single room during our SFOR Operations in Bosnia, I was lead to a dorm, anticipating a small and perhaps shabby place with a bunk bed and an annoying roommate” he recalls. “Instead, I walked into 75 West Street, which Pace leased at the time; it was the former NY Post Towers turned into luxury condos building with staggering 25ft ceilings, concierge service, marble floors, and a block away from the World Trade Center. I was in a two-bedroom apartment with a couple fantastic go-getter guys who worked on Wall Street and went to school full time, just as I was planning to do.”

Jassen’s Pace experience continues to impact his personal life. “I have made three life-long friends from my first day at Pace. I regularly get together with them, they were in my wedding party (twice!), and all have become part of my family. Two were my roommates which I mentioned earlier, the third was the Head of Admission who looked after me long before I started at Pace – helping my dear mother get me applied as an absentee, while I was running missions in Bosnia.

As a student, Jassen took advantage of the Co-op program that initially drew him to the University. “Pace’s Co-Op program allowed me to work throughout my time in school, which beyond the valuable experience at JPMorgan, also gave me a significant advantage over competing candidates when I landed my job at Goldman Sachs.”

Ultimately, Jassen’s 10 year career at Goldman Sachs included living in Hong Kong, where he served as the Executive Director and Regional COO of the Asset Management business in Asia. Why Hong Kong?

“My lifelong goal remains to spend at least a decade on each of the big continents. After Europe and North America, I was keen to explore Asia, its vastly diverse cultures, people, and business environments” he says. “In planning for it, I made sure my senior leaders knew I was interested in mobility, but more importantly, they had confidence that I could deliver – in a bigger job, bigger business, and a different culture. I made sure to drive my own career, raise my hand, help others, and never hide from problems or additional challenges and work.”

In May 2014, Jassen joined Barclays as Director and Chief of Staff to the CFO of Barclays Investment Bank and Barclays in the Americas, and returned to New York City. What does he consider the biggest difference between living and working in Asia, Europe, and North America?

“This topic deserves an article on its own and would include a multitude of thoughts on working cultures, career progression, and lifestyle,” he says. “I could describe them all, but my key takeaway would simple: you must spend real time in different cultures to truly experience them, understand them, appreciate them, to draw out the best of them, and ultimately to expand your horizon and become an effective leader in a Globalized Economy.”

Jassen Trenkow’s Five Travel Tips for Hong Kong

  1. Party hard the night before your flight, don’t sleep, and let your body collapse on the plane – 15 hours of deep sleep will do wonders in the recovery and almost entirely avoid jetlag.
     
  2. When you arrive, take the Airport Express, don’t bother with cars.
     
  3. Stay in Central, Wanchai, or Causeway Bay only – they are in walking distance to everything, lively, and a great place to meet people.
     
  4. At night, start off in Lan Kwai Fong with some dinner, head to Wanchai only thereafter. Going the reverse order will jeopardize your next day’s schedule.
     
  5. Favorite restaurant: Amore in Wanchai, featuring fantastic South-East Asian cuisine and open into the morning hours. We liked it so much, that my wife just bought it 3 months ago and runs it along with her other businesses in Hong Kong.