Students and young professionals frequently ask me how I planned out my career to become president of Fidelity Investments. My answer has always been clear: “There was no grand plan. I backed into my career one step at a time.” Most successful executives would give the same answer.

When I was attending college and law school, I never planned to become the president of a financial services giant. At the time, I thought I would become a professor or a federal regulator. Indeed, at the start of my career, I held positions as a law professor, a senior official at the Securities and Exchange Commission, and a partner in a law firm. During those fourteen years, I learned a lot about myself and the financial ...

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