Barry McNamara  |   Published May 05, 2016


Dabbs ’14 pens appreciation to business faculty for his Monmouth education
  • A business education at Monmouth College positioned Patrick Dabbs ’14 for professional success.
Patrick Dabbs ’14 couldn’t have asked for a much better start to his professional career, and he wanted to make sure those responsible for it knew how well they prepared him.

Shortly after taking a job with global reinsurance company Swiss Re, Dabbs sent a thank-you letter to his Monmouth College political economy and commerce faculty, whom he credited with helping him achieve early success in his career – first with a job at Aetna, then at Swiss Re.

“My education has served me very well so far,” he wrote. “Without it, I certainly would not have landed my first job at Aetna. Without it, I certainly wouldn’t have been brought to Swiss Re by Aetna’s former director of underwriting. And without it, I would not be able to solve the business problems I encounter every day.”

At Swiss Re, Dabbs supports the company’s stop loss line of business.

“It requires extensive analysis of financial data, claims history and demographics, and I must maintain close communication with multiple teams across the organization, off-shore contractors and producers,” he said.

An economics and business administration major, Dabbs said he was well-schooled at Monmouth in a number of subjects – many of which he wasn’t sure he would need after graduation but have since come to play an important role in his work: globalization, econometrics, the cost of turnover, market analysis, advertising and even Robert’s Rules of Order.

“I have used the regression analysis I learned at Monmouth quite frequently and wowed my peers and superiors,” Dabbs wrote to his faculty, citing yet another example. “I have, on multiple occasions, run regression analyses projecting future claims and enrollment, therefore enabling us to properly price for the future.”

To professor of political economy and commerce Michael Connell, who taught Dabbs in several classes, he wrote: “I appreciate the view of business and economics that you gave me. I feel at many schools, economics is taught as being purely empirical. However, as you taught me and the way the world goes, this is not the case. Although I do use a lot of empirical analysis, I always think about the non-empirical side of things.”

Dabbs started his career as an underwriting analyst at the Fortune 50 company Aetna. He joined a group of other newcomers, all of whom had graduated from large universities.

“The other dozen or so new hires were all from big-time business programs,” Dabbs said. “But I felt I was the most prepared, and I’m the one the others frequently turned to when they asked for help.”

It wasn’t only his peers who noticed Dabbs. Not long into his career, Aetna’s director of underwriting accepted a position with Swiss Re. The director took with him four senior-level Aetna employees and one relative newcomer – Dabbs.

When he first explored Monmouth as a high school student from Yorkville, Ill., Dabbs said he discovered a college that met all of his needs.

“I visited many colleges, both large and small, in search for the college that was right for me,” he said. “Monmouth was the only one that felt like home. I am exceedingly thankful I received a thoughtful education from professors who are truly passionate about what they’re teaching, the success of their students, and the students themselves. I genuinely believe that had I not gone to Monmouth, I would not be where I am today.”

Dabbs said that involvement in Monmouth’s cocurricular opportunities also shaped his development.

“The teamwork capabilities I acquired while playing football at Monmouth have helped me tremendously in work,” said Dabbs, who served on the team’s leadership committee. “Technical capabilities aside, I have found the ability to work effectively with people of different backgrounds, personalities and nationalities to be extremely important. I became versed in this prior to my career from my experiences both in the classroom and on the field.”

Also while a Monmouth student, Dabbs was vice president of marketing for the Business and Economics Club and vice president of the Wrestling Club. He represented the Mortar Board national honor society in the College’s student government.

Although he is happy in his new position at Swiss Re, Dabbs said he might eventually pursue another avenue of business he studied at Monmouth – entrepreneurship.

“I never thought I would want to start and operate a business, but those opportunities are starting to appear, and I eventually plan to explore them using the knowledge I obtained in my ‘Entrepreneurship’ class,” he said.
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