Select your localized edition:

Close ×

More Ways to Connect

Discover one of our 28 local entrepreneurial communities »

Be the first to know as we launch in new countries and markets around the globe.

Interested in bringing MIT Technology Review to your local market?

MIT Technology ReviewMIT Technology Review - logo

 

Unsupported browser: Your browser does not meet modern web standards. See how it scores »

Tommy Pelletier


Tommy Pelletier spent his childhood in Maine split between foster care and a single-parent welfare home, never imagining that he would attend MIT and become a successful currency trader. But he did, thanks to his gift for math and teachers who noticed.

“My teachers at Portland High School drove me to push my academics to another level,” he says. And during a high-school writing assignment, he discovered MIT. “I didn’t want to be what I was seeing in my daily life,” he says. “MIT piqued my interest in math and science. I think I saw education as a way out.”

After Pelletier was accepted to MIT, someone from the Portland area—he’s still not sure who—contacted TV talk-show host Rosie O’Donnell, who named him a “Rosie’s SuperKid.” Featured in her magazine and on her talk show, Pelletier received a $75,000 educational trust fund from the Kellogg Company.

“I have a hard time believing it sometimes,” he says. “I would ask, ‘Do I really deserve this?’ But then I thought of the teachers who pushed me every day.”

Pelletier’s undergraduate experience was atypical. His daughter, Ariana, was born during his sophomore year. “I didn’t party much or have a lot of time to do homework with friends,” says Pelletier, who had married his high-school girlfriend. “I was home by early afternoon every day. I arranged my class schedule to spend time with my daughter.”

Pelletier balanced family and coursework with internships at Goldman Sachs, Smith Barney, and Merrill Lynch, and he graduated with a 4.7 GPA. Shortly after graduation, his son, Camden, was born, and Pelletier began working as a currency trader at Barclays Capital in New York City. Within six months, he was managing the firm’s Canadian dollar trading during the New York session.

“As a trader, you have to assess risk and reward very quickly,” he says. “It’s not patient, long-term investing. I could lose my entire week in 30 seconds.”

In 2007, Pelletier’s life changed. He moved to the Gelber Group, a private firm in Greenwich, Connecticut. He divorced in 2008, and he obtained full custody of his children. Now he and his new wife, Jennifer, live in Norwalk, Connecticut, a short commute from work and his children’s school.

“My life is so blessed,” he says. “I love what I do—managing my own trading book and picking my kids up from school every day. I thank God daily for what I have and for the journey that got me here.”

0 comments about this story. Start the discussion »

Reprints and Permissions | Send feedback to the editor

From the Archives

Close

Introducing MIT Technology Review Insider.

Already a Magazine subscriber?

You're automatically an Insider. It's easy to activate or upgrade your account.

Activate Your Account

Become an Insider

It's the new way to subscribe. Get even more of the tech news, research, and discoveries you crave.

Sign Up

Learn More

Find out why MIT Technology Review Insider is for you and explore your options.

Show Me
×

A Place of Inspiration

Understand the technologies that are changing business and driving the new global economy.

September 23-25, 2014
Register »