Matt Newsom

At the time of this interview, Matt was Senior Director at Smithfield Foods.

Why did you major in Economics?

I didn’t want to go to law school and I was good at math. I hadn’t been exposed to econ much before UVA.

What were some courses that you enjoyed at UVA?

Theory of Financial Markets with Ed Burton; History of the South with Ed Ayers, who went on to become the President of University of Richmond. I took that class as a Pass/Fail not knowing what to expect. It was very engaging and then I wished I had not taken it as Pass/Fail.

What activities were you involved with at UVA?

UVA’s club water polo team.

I’m in a new role as the Senior Director at Smithfield. In this role, I protect the interests of Smithfield and its employees. I work to find ways to do business better. I’m responsible for strategy, finance, and leadership. I learned about my first job at a poker game with some guys who worked for Smithfield. I started out as an analyst and I’ve been with the firm for 15 years.

What else keeps you busy?

I have 7-year-old twins.

What do you read or listen to so that you stay informed about your field?

Every morning, I listen to Squawk Box on CNBC and Mornings with Maria on Fox Business. I’d like to read more than I do.

Advice for students?

Be open to opportunities and things you’re not comfortable with. Working with a big company has big advantages, like moving into new departments if you’d like a change. Embrace a little change.