Four undergrads from the Robert H. Smith School of Business recently experienced a one-of-a-kind opportunity to meet and hear from investing luminaries at one place, at one time – the Oct. 22 Barron’s Roundtable at New York City’s Metropolitan Club.
Finance seniors Matya Magnezi, Justin Licameli, Alex Blum and Jon Szakelyhidi “participated in discussions on topics including domestic and global economic trends, individual stock picking strategies, U.S. presidential election insights and options strategies,” said adjunct professor Joe Rinaldi, who accompanied the group representing his Futures, Options and Derivatives class.
The students also networked with such Roundtable members as Felix Zulauf, owner and president of Zulauf Asset Management; Dan Fuss, vice chairman of Loomis Sayles; Meryl Witmer, general partner of Eagle Capital Partners; and Pat Neal, CEO-CIO of Treepoint Capital Management during the conference themed “The Art of Successful Investing.”
“Reading theories and examples from a textbook can only have a limited impact on one’s ability to learn," said Licameli, a finance and information systems major. “But listening to, and discussing, real- world experiences with successful practitioners of the financial industry gave me priceless exposure to ways of thinking I had never thought of before.”
Licameli and his classmates have co-authored a white paper on their experience at the conference and presented their findings, including potential job-lead contacts from the roundtable, to the entire class. The Smith undergraduates will gain added visibility for their Barron’s Roundtable involvement, as Rinaldi will post his students’ paper on his firm Quantum Financial Advisors, Inc.'s news page.
“Meeting investing legends that I read about on an almost daily basis was not only a great way to gain knowledge, but also a great way to use their perspectives to develop new ideas of our own,” said Szakelyhidi, majoring in both finance and economics. “I am deeply thankful to Barron’s, Professor Rinaldi and the Smith School for providing such a great, hands-on learning opportunity.”
Each student earned the experience through a competitive screening involving a 3.8-plus GPA requirement and an individual interview with Rinaldi, who also reviewed their resumes for relevant experience.
In addition to meeting the likes of Zulauf, Fuss, Whitmer and Neal, the Smith students met and heard from the other Roundtable panelists: Ed Finn, editor and president of Barron’s; Scott Black, founder of Delphi Management; Fred Hickey, editor of The High-Tech Strategist; Gregory Valliere, chief political strategist for the Potomac Research Group; David Herro, chief investment officer for Harris Associates; Bill Priest, CEO/co-CIO of Epoch Investment Partners; and Marc Faber, managing director of Marc Faber Ltd.
Rinaldi said his Barron’s Roundtable connection comes from relationships developed during his 30 years of capital markets and asset management experience. “This Smith-Barron’s opportunity complements my core philosophy to educate and assist students in beginning their careers in finance and investments,” he said. “Our friends at Barron’s were kind enough to waive the $1,295 registration fees, and the experience our students gained was priceless.”