Talbot Stark – Flew to new heights in international finance

Talbot Stark ’88 (UW Madison) walked on to the University of Wisconsin campus as an “18 year-old kid that didn’t know anything.” He found his way to career success through his desire to serve, work hard, experience growth, be open-minded, and learn.

His journey would take him to great heights, flying Blackhawk helicopters in the US Army, pursuing higher education, and building a career in international finance.

Shrimp and Beer: The call to Pilam

Talbot’s first exposure to Pilam was a sign in the dorms advertising “free beer and shrimp.” How could he resist? He met with and befriended a group of like-minded individuals who were interested in restarting the Pilam chapter, which closed in the 60s.

Talbot was attracted to the founding principles of Pi Lambda Phi and found commonalities with the brothers who wanted to re-establish the chapter. He liked the fact that they were “risk takers” who wanted to build something from scratch, and became a re-founding father of UW Madison.

Taking flight

As if classes and fraternity weren’t enough, Talbot had his eye on the sky. He always wanted to fly and joined the ROTC to become a helicopter pilot in the US Army.

After graduating from university, he attended the US Army Aviation Officer’s Basic Course and Flight School at Ft. Rucker, Alabama. There he became a combat arms Second Lieutenant in the Aviation branch. 

He honed his leadership skills and flew some of the most advanced utility helicopters in the world that transport infantry troops across the battlefield. During this time as an officer, he greatly enjoyed the camaraderie he built with his Brothers and Sisters in uniform, reminiscent of the bonds he formed with his Pilam Brothers at the University of Wisconsin. 

He flew actively in this adrenalin-filled world for three years before moving to headquarters and leadership roles in Germany. He would serve a total of 20 years in the US Army, active and reserves.

Inclined to finance

When he was mustering out of the military to seek his next opportunity, Talbot was accepted to the Cambridge MBA program for Finance. He spent the next 28 years living in England, traveling the world, and building a career.

He spent more than 20 years at the third largest bank in the world, BNP Paribas, driving and defining the strategy and execution of global markets with financial institutions hedge funds, asset managers, and financial sponsors.

Blazing a path for professionals

Talbot’s friends pushed him to write a book drawing on his experience working in international finance, the US military, and Silicon Valley. Talbot believes your success is “based on accountability and things you can control.”

His three pillars of success are:

  1. Be a better you
  2. Partner, don’t delegate
  3. Manage you manager

He recently released Elite Performance for Managers, which Talbot says is a collection of “a lot of things I wish people would have taught me along the way.”

Giving back to Pilam

Talbot volunteers as a chapter coach for the Iowa chapter and has found it very rewarding and a natural fit, as running a chapter is “much like running a small business.”