Sam Hocking ’87

September 01, 2009

By Warren Miller

Curious Sam

When Samuel M. Hocking, Jr. was an undergraduate student at Rollins, his dream was to be a television sportscaster and newscaster. He quickly realized that dream—and then moved on to many others.

In just over two decades, Hocking has traveled a multi-faceted career path that has taken him from broadcast journalism to teaching to international finance…from Texas to Vienna to San Francisco. Today, as head of global sales for BNP Prime Brokerage, which raises capital and custodies assets for and lends money to hedge funds, he travels regularly to New York and Paris from his San Francisco home base. And he still finds time to spend time with his wife and three boys and volunteer on Rollins’ President’s Leadership Council, which he currently serves as chairman.

“The thing that’s driven my career is something I developed at Rollins: being curious,” he said. “I learned to explore a lot of things and not be afraid that I’m not the subject-matter expert. And my ongoing involvement with Rollins continues to expand my point of view.”

As an undergraduate, Hocking majored in economics, was president of Phi Delta Theta fraternity, and was voted most outstanding senior soccer player. It was an internship at WESH-TV, the Orlando NBC affiliate, that “gave me the journalism bug,” he said.

After graduation, he returned to his home state of Texas, where he landed a series of TV news jobs—sportscaster, reporter, and finally anchor/reporter at an ABC affiliate in Greensboro. “I wanted to follow the path of Peter Jennings,” he said. That meant becoming a foreign correspondent.

So, in the early ’90s, Hocking headed to Europe to work on a master’s degree at Webster University’s European campus. He landed a job with the BBC in London and went on to work for broadcasting companies in Moscow, Geneva, and Amsterdam before settling in Vienna to begin a teaching career. There, he taught a full load of broadcasting courses at Webster and began conducting research on finance as well as on the media’s role in apartheid in South Africa. Under his leadership, Webster took media students from Vienna to South Africa for research on the topic, brought South African students to Vienna to study, and raised the money to finance the project from Austrian companies.

Hocking returned to Dallas in 1997 and worked briefly for a database company that aggregated data for hedge funds, traveling all over world to market the software. He was soon whisked away by Bank of America’s Prime Brokerage and established their Dallas office, simultaneously earning an MBA through the executive program at Northwestern University’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management. “I knew I needed that if I wanted to work for a Wall Street firm,” Hocking said. Upon receiving his MBA, he moved to San Francisco to run Southwest and West Coast operations for Prime Brokerage, and later oversaw the company’s global prime brokerage sales until co-leading the sale of the business to BNP Paribas.

Given his rapid rise through global business, it’s not surprising that Hocking has another big dream: owning his own business in the not-too-distant future. “I’d like to integrate my global view and corporate experience into a company that helps people grow their businesses. It would be a great way to pull all my knowledge together.”

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