Congratulations to Brown University Executive Master in Cybersecurity (EMCS) 2018 Ray Cotton on his new position at Wells Fargo as the senior vice president and chief operating officer overseeing I.T. architecture, risk, and cybersecurity.
In the following interview, Cotton explains how EMCS helped him leverage his experience at Capital One in trust and safety to assume this new role at Wells Fargo where he will lead and build teams, and find and implement the leading cybersecurity technology solutions for the financial space.
With so much competition for talent in cyber, did EMCS help you land this new position at Wells Fargo?
I would argue that nowhere is cybersecurity talent more in demand than in Silicon Valley. Having a well-respected school on your CV certainly helps get your foot in the door at leading companies, but your interview performance and responses are what get you the job.
The most common question that I get about Silicon Valley is regarding the unusual interview style of asking bizarre or seemingly unrelated interview questions. These interviewers aren’t looking for an affirmative answer. They are interested in how you think through a problem and then verbalize or demonstrate your thought process.
This scenario is germane to EMCS because many of us are leaving the program with new and exciting ways to think about and solve complex problems.
It seems like your career is moving full steam ahead. Why do EMCS?
I have been fortunate to work in senior positions in many verticals during my career: operations, compliance, security, and investigations. I was contemplating a career pivot to pursue a new challenge in cybersecurity. Given how difficult this process can be, I knew I wanted to find and attend the most elite school possible that offered the greatest learning opportunity.
The EMCS program achieved and exceeded my objectives. The program is well-rounded and focuses on both basic and advanced topics in a variety of disciplines: privacy, governance frameworks, leadership, encryption, policy, and information systems.
Although I expected and received world-class instruction and engagement from faculty and support staff, I wasn’t expecting the cohort to be both cohesive and stimulating. I am grateful to have made many lifelong friends in this program.
What are your thoughts about taking on this new, high profile and demanding position?
While I enjoyed my time with Capital One – and that company is full of really great people – I’m confident about facing the new challenges ahead at Wells Fargo thanks to EMCS.
The program has the benefit of having some of the best minds in technology, policy, privacy, and leadership. It has evolved my perspectives and enhanced my problem-solving in nearly every area of cybersecurity and business.