Breck Hanson (BSIM ’70) has more than 30 years of experience in banking and joined Associated Bank in 2010 as executive vice president, head of commercial real estate. In 2014, Hanson took on the additional responsibilities of president and director of corporate banking for Associated Bank’s Chicago Market division. He is also on the Dean’s Advisory Council at the Krannert School of Management.
Krannert Magazine: Why do you think it’s important for alumni to share their expertise with students?
Breck Hanson: Anything we can do to put Purdue graduates, with their admirable integrity and grassroots values, in positions of success — to put them in industry and in the community doing things that are significant — that’s part of the payback. The recognition that Purdue has achieved, the education I received at Purdue and the people I met here have all contributed to my success. Trying to pass that success on to Purdue’s current generation is an easy decision to make.
KM: What do you tell students who are interested in careers in banking?
BH: I’ll tell them that commercial banking is a great opportunity to be of service not only to the business community, but also your local community as a whole. It’s an opportunity to see other people do well and to help them achieve success. Working at a bank, you get to focus on the success of your employees, your clients and your community all at once. We interact with those things every day.
KM: How are today’s students different from when you attended Purdue?
BH: It’s been said that my generation may have enjoyed more financial success than the generation that’s coming through the collegiate ranks today. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but I have seen my own children move toward social responsibility more than I did. And I think that’s generally true of this generation. Part of our generation’s responsibility is to embrace their social responsibility but still prepare them for the fact that they’re not entitled to success.
However, it is encouraging when you sit and talk with a group of soon-to-be graduates. I think they have a better feeling for what they want to do right out of school than my generation did 30 years ago. I think we’re preparing them not only for their chosen profession, but also for life in general. Education is more than just career building. It’s about citizenship and ethics, too.