Samuelsons Nifty Company|
Martha Samuelson 79
The daughter of Herbert Scarf, an internationally known economist at Yale, Martha Samuelson 79 teethed on talk of world financial markets. After shunning economics at Yale and plotting a course for the Law School instead, she eventually ended up at MITs Sloan School of Management, headed for a career involving things more quantitative than law. "I guess all those dinnertime conversations caught up with me," she says. When she married in 1982, Samuelson acquired two colleagues in the process: husband Paul R. Samuelson, president of Samuelson Portfolio Strategies, and father-in-law Paul A. Samuelson, the Nobel Prize-winning economist.
Martha Samuelson hit a professional high this year when she became president of Analysis Group/Economics, a company that since its founding in 1981 has seen its business skyrocket along with the demand for its product. Hired primarily by major corporations or by the law firms that represent them, Analysis Group develops economic models for antitrust, securities fraud, or intellectual property litigations and provides expert testimony on damages assessment. Lotus, Procter & Gamble, John Hancock, and NASDAQ market makers have all benefited from the companys analyses.
With an address book that reads like an academic Whos Who, Samuelson staffs her teams with some of the heaviest economic hitters in the Ivy League, whom she works with as consultants. "Every problem can be seen from a variety of angles," she explains. "The ability to assess a complicated situation and understand which economic tools are most suited to its solution requires a lot of what I call quantitative creativity. Its the hardest part of what we do, and the academics we work with help keep us high-end."
If the cases she handles are bound to make the evening news, Samuelson is apt to be at home when it comes on. Analysis Group is also a "nifty" company, she says, with family-friendly policies and practices. While raising three sonsnow ages 13, 12, and 8she has been able to maintain her personal priorities in a business that can exact a crushing price for success. Even as president of the company, she says, she is not quite working full time, and her schedulelike those of other senior staffis flexible enough to accommodate her family responsibilities. Do those practices make for more productive employees? "I think they do," she says, "but I also think, Who cares? Its the way we want to do it."