In financial services, the BlackRock name stands as one of those iconic monikers that need no introduction. But behind the $9.6 trillion investment behemoth — easily the world’s largest asset manager — stand leaders whose tireless efforts help keep the company on firm footing. Daniel Gamba ’97 MBA is one such example: he serves as co-head of Fundamental Equities and as a member of BlackRock’s Global Operating, Portfolio Management Group Executive and Human Capital Committees.
Gamba says his Kellogg School of Management education gave him the springboard to reach those heights. Originally from Peru, Gamba came to Kellogg in search of a broader perspective — which he found, and then some.
“It expanded my lens of the world,” Gamba says of his Kellogg experience. “It exposed me to many other geographies and people from other backgrounds.”
Gamba has been at BlackRock since 2000. In his current role, he co-leads the company’s Fundamental Equities business worldwide. He’s responsible for the division’s business strategy, financial results, investment performance and talent management, with teams located in the Americas, the Asia-Pacific region, and Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
“The business I lead, it’s a people business,” he says. “About half of my time is devoted to attracting the right talent: cultivating and growing it so that people [consider] BlackRock their place to be. That’s our most important priority, and inclusion is a manifestation of attracting the best talent with the most diverse views and opinions. That is very, very important to deliver the best solutions for our clients.”
Gamba is also a co-chair of BlackRock’s SOMOS Latinx Network, a community of employees of Hispanic/Latin American origin and their allies. “We work on activities that make them feel more like a family,” he says. “And we want them to feel appreciated at home so that they can deliver the best for themselves and for the clients.”
This connects to another value Gamba took to the next level at Kellogg: collaboration. Gamba embraced a proactive role in capitalizing on the different strengths of his classmates. “It really pushed the boundaries of how to work with people because, let’s be honest, it’s complex to do,” he says. “It was an initially painful process, but then you realize that’s the way to extract the best from people.”
He elaborates: “From day one, you are part of a multicultural, multi-geography team, and in every single class you create work projects and cases that are resolved in that multicultural environment.”
So how does Gamba think leadership shines in complicated situations? He says the professors at Kellogg modeled a mix of intelligence, passion and focus that influenced him and his fellow MBA students.
Today, his leadership philosophy not only describes what drives him but also harks back to what he witnessed in pursuit of his degree — with Kellogg providing the foundation that helped him climb to the top of BlackRock.
“When I think about great leaders, they’re positive people who try to move the world into a much better place,” he says. “And you do it by helping those that you lead become better people in what they do. It’s not from a position of authority; it’s from a position of helping others be better.”