Do not train a child to learn by force or harshness; but direct them to it by what amuses their minds, so that you may be better able to discover with accuracy the peculiar bent of the genius of each. ― Plato
It is Wednesday, February 27, 2013. I’m giving a speech in front of 50-70 people on why they should elect me as their treasurer for Key Club at Edward R. Murrow high school.
During my junior year in high school, I became a member of Key Club, an organization which provides its members with opportunities to provide service, build character and develop leadership. This was the first club I ever joined, after avoiding all clubs and school events for 2 years.
After the speeches for all positions, members were to vote a person of their choice for each position. Unfortunately, I became in 2nd place for the treasury role. Well actually, I was in the last place since there were only two people running for the position. It was not a big deal for me anyway.
Several months later, I was sitting in my room staring at the news and currency charts. I was thinking about my future; college and career.
As I was thinking, I promised myself I would open my own club in college. What kind of club? I don’t know. But, I will open a club. Only time will tell.
A year later, I’m sitting in the same room staring at the news and currency/equity charts. I was weighting the costs and benefits of attending certain colleges. After being rejected from my number one choice, Columbia University, I had to choice between Binghamton University and Baruch College.
Why not Binghamton? Tuition was over $24,000, $14K had to come out of my own pocket (unless I got scholarships; not guaranteed). In others words, I would had to take out a student loan, which I promised I would never take. Lastly, the campus was four hours away from the financial capital of the world; New York City.
On the other hand, one major reason I wanted Binghamton was that I would move out from my parent’s house and be independent. But, the benefits were heavier on Baruch’s side. To this day, I still live with my parents; rent-free with……um……no……um……..no responsibilities.
During my first semester at the city university, I started going to Finance & Economics Society (FES) club. At the end of the semester, they were few positions open, one of them: Sales & Trading. I applied for it, got interviewed, and got accepted into the program. I got accepted not because I stood out from the crowd, but because there was no competition at all.
Joining a club with some smart people that conducted themselves professionally, was uncomfortable for me. A confront zone is a beautiful place, nothing ever grows there.
Over the next three semesters at FES, I learned incredibly so much both career-wise and personal-wise. Two important skills I gained were debating and leadership, thanks to Kenneth Tjonasam and the team. As the director of the S&T program, Kenneth challenged me and others to give our own ideas and asked us tough questions when we gave it. And he did much more than that.
Charles Schwab got paid a million dollars a year in 1920s, because of his leadership skills;
Why did Andrew Carnegie pay a million dollars a year, or more than three thousand dollars a day, to Charles Schwab? Why? Because Schwab was a genius? No. Because he knew more about the manufacture of steel than other people? Nonsense. Charles Schwab told me (Dale Carnegie) himself that he had many men working for him who know more about the manufacture of steel than he did.
Schwab says that he was paid this salary largely because of his ability to deal with people.
That’s how good Kenneth was. Except in this part, he is also a genius.
In the middle of sophomore year, I had a flashback; sitting in my room and promising myself I would open a club. At the time of the flashback, I was sitting in my room staring at the news and currency/equity/commodity charts. Without contemplating, I planned to start Hedge Fund Club (HFC).
I wanted to share my passion with others and give back to the Baruch community. The purpose of HFC was;
Hedge Fund Club’s purpose is to trade financial instruments actively while allocating different asset classes effectively. To maximize capital and minimize risks, the club will use top-down approach and technical analysis to find the best investment opportunities. The club will offer opportunities for the Baruch Community to get know the hedge fund industry and network with the people in the industry, developing Baruch College’s exposure to the hedge fund industry.
Over the next several months, I filled out the papers the student government wanted, in addition to finding a club adviser. My team and I chose Bruce Kamich, well respected and highly talented technical analyst professor at Baruch College. Professor Kamich was the best fit for the HFC’s mission and I’m thankful for his advice. I have yet to take his class.
And finally, the student government asked my team to hold three HFC meetings before an interview with them to get the club chartered.
My team (Vice-President – Thomas Jing, Secretary – Jamal Moody, and Treasurer – Jinay Shah) and I held the meetings in April and May, attaining 14 members. For the undisclosed reasons, the interview was forwarded to early September. Over the summer, I along with my team worked on most of the PT presentations and outlined the meetings for the fall semester. September came and there still was no interview. To sum up, there’s no HFC anymore (unless someone else starts it).
I take full responsibility for the failure of Hedge Fund Club. This is the biggest failure of my career. And this will definitely go into my book.
The reasons for the failure is classified. It will be declassified in my book, or when I’m on the cover of Forbes. (Few people know at this time).
I will continue to guide people who might be interested in markets/trading/technical analysis/investing/blogging. I will continue to meet with them during my own time. I will continue to have conversations with them. I will continue to debate with them. I will continue to ask “why” if the reasons are not clarified.
While the vision and the goals for HFC will not see a light anymore, I will let it shine after college. I plan to create my own program and/or join a mentorship program.
I have seen extremely talented students. I want to make sure they use their brain for something they love. I have seen students with a strong curiosity in a subject (mostly finance related). I want to make sure they continue to build their knowledge foundation and guide them, but it’s up to them to choose which road to take. I have seen students with no clue what they want to do when they grow up. I want to make sure they go out of their confront zone and try out new things.
Wander around the unknown and you might just discover your passion. – Khojinur Usmonov