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WILLIAM POLLOCK '14

WILLIAM POLLOCK '14
WILLIAM POLLOCK '14

William Pollock

 

“Episcopal taught me the ability to rationalize—what high school is supposed to do for you.”

 

William Pollock ‘14 passes his alma mater each day on his way to work at Stephens Inc. as an Investment Banking Associate in Mergers and Acquisitions. Living in Little Rock gives William one more reason to be an active alumnus  and to reflect daily on the lessons learned during his time at Epsicopal Collegiate School. 

In college at the University of Arkansas, the need for practicality sometimes loomed over William. Because he did not attend a liberal arts college, he reflects fondly on the “wider breadth of experiences” that attending a smaller high school afforded him. While at Episcopal, William felt free to stretch his legs and mind, exploring different interests whenever he could. And that’s how the four-sport athlete began drumming along in the school’s percussion group––the Steel Cats. 

Joining the Steel Cats was, William says, “Outside [his] comfort zone at the time,” but in hindsight, there was a common ground in his extracurriculars both on the field and the stage: the team. William learned the value of being a team member while at Epsicopal and how giving 110% no matter your role or rank is so important.

William was a skilled football player and was made team captain during his senior year. On the basketball court, however, William says now that he wasn’t the best player. So during basketball season, he would have to take a backseat and let his peers take the lead. He learned how to make his own plan and follow another’s, how to inspire and be inspired. These lessons in sportsmanship directly impact his current professional endeavors in finance.“Knowing your role and what you do and what the team expects from you is something I gained from Episcopal.” 

In William’s specific role in Mergers and Acquisitions, he is “constantly changing teams”––a balancing act he learned while in school. He says, “When you play four sports and are a part of a percussion group, you’re constantly changing teams, so you have to know how your role fits into one, while it may be entirely different on another.” 

Because of the reduced class sizes and routine communal gatherings, like daily Chapel and club time, students at Episcopal receive—as William would describe it—the “invaluable experience” of learning from others at all ages. William reflects on his senior year when his schedule didn’t align with the advanced percussion class, so the administration worked with him and placed him in the beginner course. Instead of drumming alongside his senior friends that semester, he spent a period mentoring younger students. This experience really allowed him to appreciate the interactions of middle and high school students that Episcopal affords its community. 

Gaining leadership skills at a young age has also benefited William professionally. He knows that others “not only need you to do your job, but also [need you to] help those beneath you to do theirs…and do it successfully.” Learning to both work with and lead those at different levels helped him become more well-rounded. “I was able to learn how to communicate with different people. What teaching style worked best; what interested them. Because everyone’s different, right?”

In addition to serving as a leader himself, William appreciates learning from great leaders, like Episcopal’s faculty members. He has many fond memories of his teachers and can even attribute specific values gained to many of them. For example, Upper School history teacher Dr. Hall taught him to “have a skeptical mind.” “He taught us to even question the author of the textbook! Do they have a bias? Do they have goals in writing this? Who’s asking them to write it?” This inquisitive mindset has served William ever since, as he questions the world around him. 

This was true in English with Ms. Conyer, too. “When she had us read literature, she had us really dive deep into the characters. We looked below the surface to understand why characters went down various paths in the plot. It was amazing the amount of redundancies in their decision making…I use this every day in social and professional settings. Everybody works with people; there are social aspects in every industry. Studying someone’s prior decision making patterns enables you to forecast how they’ll decide next.” So even though William’s career leans more towards STEM, the perspectives imparted from reading literature in eleventh grade have shaped how he interacts with colleagues and peers. William, like many other alumni, couldn’t have guessed which lessons from high school would stick with him.

“In college, you learn a lot of the technical stuff you might need…[But] Episcopal taught me the ability to rationalize—what high school is supposed to do for you…[In short,] college helped teach me how to technically do my job, and Episcopal taught me how to do it better.”

You never know where life lessons will present themselves––from the football field, to the percussion room, to English class. It is from these perspectives and experiences that William’s sage advice to current and future Wildcats lies: “Experience as much as you can, whether it is in the classroom or an extracurricular. You don’t know if you’ll have that chance again. Make it count.”

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William Pollock is a member of Episcopal Collegiate School’s Class of 2014. After graduation, he attended the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville where he received his Bachelor’s degree in Accounting and Finance and a Master’s degree in Accounting. He then moved back to his hometown of Little Rock for a position at Stephens Inc., where he currently serves as an Investment Banking Associate in Mergers and Acquisitions. When he’s not working, he can either be found cheering on every Razorback team or enjoying all types of music—and he means all types of music, as he is a self-proclaimed “genre agnostic.”