Feb 24, 2021
Over the last two years, Narwhal Capital Management has fostered a promising relationship with the Georgia Tech Student Foundation Investment Committee. This student-run committee is full of young, extremely talented individuals interested in the investing space and a desire to gain applicable work experience in the field. The students who make up this investment committee have proven to be a great fit for a company like Narwhal as there is a distinct emphasis on employee education and innovation within the existing office culture. Most Narwhal employees are between 25-35 years old and experience a diversity of roles and responsibilities within their work lives. For college students who are willing to adapt, absorb, and work diligently, there is immense opportunity to take ownership in projects and learn from the willing teaching staff at Narwhal. This connection has been beneficial to both parties by providing hungry students with a truly hands-on experience and allowing Narwhal to leverage some of the state's brightest young finance minds. What follows is a more in-depth look inside the formation of this connection and the results experienced by Narwhal and these students.
The Georgia Tech Student Foundation Investment committee is the largest entirely student-run endowment in the country, managing approximately $1.5 million. The endowment was put in place to teach the basics of investing, accounting, and finance through practical experience. While the committee has provided a huge benefit to its participants, it also positively impacts the rest of the student body. As the fund grows through students' investment decisions, the university allocates resources from the endowment to help support organizations throughout Georgia Tech's campus, creating a sense of pride and service that makes committee roles highly sought-after positions. To become a committee member, students go through a rigorous semester-long evaluation process that narrows down roughly 150 applicants to fill about 20 positions. The 150 applicants are given tests on financial material throughout a semester, with the top 20 scorers earning their way onto the committee. This committee actively manages the endowment through stock and bond selections based on research done within the confines of the group. Ideas are researched, pitched to the group, and voted on for approval. Structurally, the committee is run similarly to a professional investment company; teams of analysts report to senior analysts, who are managed by sector heads, who report to directors. This hierarchical layout gives the students a realistic peek into organizational structure while providing multiple levels of accountability to ensure that the quality of work remains high. Students move up the ladder during their time in school, gaining more responsibility as they progress and giving them more opportunity to make an impact.
The connection started when Akash Prasad, at the time just a high school senior, joined Narwhal as an intern to fulfill a requirement for graduation. Akash worked for a summer before going off to school at Georgia Tech but stayed in contact with Narwhal as he began to get involved on campus. He joined the Investment Committee his freshman year and thought it would be beneficial for the students of the committee to hear a presentation from professionals in the industry. In the spring of 2019, Andrew Hall and Ben Nye spoke to the committee at Akash's invitation. The presentation was well received and led to interest from members of the committee looking for internship experience. From there, two students were hired, and the first true class of interns joined Narwhal in the summer of 2019. Since that summer, Narwhal has hired five interns out of the Georgia Tech Investment Committee, with two more expecting to come on this June.
Narwhal understands that students from Georgia Tech, especially those involved in the investment committee, are highly ambitious individuals. Because of that, we want to provide real and meaningful opportunities for these students to gain hands-on finance experience that will benefit them down the road. These students are given complex projects, asked to make real decisions, and assist with our research process in an organic and meaningful fashion. Students leave with real-world experience and a collection of work samples that can be used to showcase their abilities in future internships and job interviews. We also look to provide opportunities for these individuals to grow outside of Narwhal through networking events within the industry, helping them make connections and learn about the different finance areas to see where their interests lie.
First and foremost, a foundational pillar of ours has always been the education of individuals. Whether that's educating clients on the nuances of markets and investing or furthering the education of students who hope to make a career in finance, we take pride in passing along the knowledge that we have accumulated throughout our collective time in the industry. Not only do we prioritize and enjoy educating, but we also reap the benefits of adding talent to our roster, even in short-term positions. The students we have worked with have conducted quality research and analysis in line with the standards that we hold ourselves to, and their diligence has led to real action by our investment committee. Below is a list of 7 companies and total assets held for clients that were all pitched by Georgia Tech Investment Committee interns:
We want to utilize this relationship whenever we have the opportunity and hope to continue providing impactful experiences to these students. As Narwhal continues to grow, not only will we rely on this connection for short-term roles but also for full-time roles as they become available. Narwhal is growing quickly, but our growing client base requires more team-members to serve those clients. Hiring quality individuals to meet that demand can be a challenge, and this program has created an excellent collection of contacts for us to consider. As roles begin to open at Narwhal and candidates are evaluated, we have an existing sense of comfort with committee members as we are well-acquainted with the program's talent standards. Getting the chance to work alongside these candidates for a few months ensures the fit is correct from our perspective. It also gives the students a sense of confidence, knowing they have already been successful in a professional environment and will undoubtedly succeed if given the opportunity to step into a full-time role.
Jonathan Schlumberger: Equity Analyst, Summer 2019
JR Martin: Equity Analyst, Spring 2021
John started at Narwhal as an investment intern in the summer of 2019 while working to complete his MBA at Auburn University. After finishing his schooling, John joined the Narwhal team in a full-time role as a client service associate in the summer of 2020. John has been tasked with servicing a portion of Narwhal’s younger client base as well as expanding the company’s management of outside 401k plans. Along with his MBA, John holds a bachelor’s degree in finance from Auburn.
At Narwhal Capital Management, you’re more than just a portfolio, and it’s not all about the numbers. Let’s start with a meeting about your needs and future goals.