Learning from Top Industry Leaders

by Samuel Kessler Swenson, MBA ‘15

Samuel Kessler Swenson, MBA ‘15

Students interested in global markets can benefit greatly from hearing the perspectives of people that have risen to the top of their respective financial firms. The Capital Markets and Asset Management (CMAM) Immersion has been particularly rewarding in that we’ve had the opportunity to listen to some of the industry’s top practitioners on a near-weekly basis. Over the course of the semester, we heard from Fred Tomczyk ‘77, President and CEO of TD Ameritrade; Chris Meredith, MBA ’05, Senior Portfolio Manager and Director of Research & Portfolio Management at O’Shaughnessy Asset Management (next in line to lead the Cayuga Fund); and Mark Zurack, MBA ’80 Visiting Senior Lecturer of Finance and retired Goldman Sachs partner. We also heard from a variety of equity and fixed income analysts, each of whom provided guidance as to how we should be looking at particular companies or new bond issues.

The asset management track, certainly as much as any other career path, requires an ability to synthesize complex information and present it in a digestible way to others. Given that markets can often present vague, and at times, conflicting data, hearing from as many successful managers possible has helped greatly in my approach to analyzing market fluctuations. Not only have we had the opportunity to develop our own investment philosophies, we’ve also learned how each of these speakers approaches leadership and manages emotions. In order to be a successful asset manager, it is my belief that one cannot let emotions interfere with reason, which is a common pitfall among underperformers.

The value in hearing from these leaders has become evident over time. It’s not a specific fact or piece of knowledge, but it is instead an accumulation of investment ideas and strategies that make me feel confident entering my summer internship.