THE MD WHO MANAGES A $1.2 BILLION MUTUAL FUND
(Business 2.0) – Kris Jenner already had a job that's a dream for many people. He was a second-year resident in surgery at prestigious Johns Hopkins hospital. A good day at work for him meant saving a life or two. As for the money—well, money wasn't the point, but he stood to make bundles of it once he completed his training.
But being a high-powered surgeon was not, ultimately, Jenner's dream. At the age of 35, he veered onto a career path that involved less lifesaving and more life savings: He became a money manager, and today runs the $1.2 billion Health Sciences Fund for Baltimore-based T. Rowe Price.
Though passionate about medicine from an early age, Jenner later developed a fascination with financial markets. In 1989 he started an investment fund with friends as a hobby; in eight years it grew from $50,000 to about $2 million. Still, it wasn't until 1996 that Jenner made the final call between medicine and high finance. One day he spotted a colleague at the hospital carrying a copy of the New England Journal of Medicine. In Jenner's hand was the Wall Street Journal. "I thought, what's wrong with this picture?" he recalls. "My heart is in the dynamics of the marketplace."
Impressed by his medical background as well as his enthusiasm for stocks, T. Rowe Price hired Jenner as an assistant analyst in 1997. He did well, and in 2000 became lead manager of the biotech-heavy Health Sciences Fund. Since then the fund's assets have quadrupled and he's beaten the average of all similar funds by eight percentage points.
Jenner sees many parallels between his past work in medicine and his current job. In both, he says, "there are a multitude of facts you can carry around, but only about three or four are really critical to the outcome." In both, he says, "your goal is to help people." But for him, his finance career track brings an important reward that the medical one couldn't. "I believe that with sufficient dedication I can become the best person at my job," says Jenner, now 42. "I wasn't so determined with medicine. But that's the feeling you need to have at work every day." — A.T.