21 Nov Learning Millions
by Grace Wang MB18
I wasn’t a foreigner to the number of zeroes on the Excel spreadsheet… the summer before, I had interned at a hedge fund and gotten used to how the word “millions” could be casually thrown around. However, for the first time, I was staring at money that was directly linked to me. As a Michigan Branch of Telluride Association (MBTA) housemember at the University of Michigan, everything from the trail mix snacks I love so much to the heating in my room was a result of this fund. I can only imagine what the pressure must be like for the TA Custodians sitting with me in the room. But that same pressure was what inspired me to make the trip a learning experience.
In other words, the trip provided me with plenty of first-time experiences. Sitting on the other side of the investment table, questioning fund managers (even if my questions were Wealth Management 101) taught me that understanding is always prioritized over a self-perceived image. Asking for a refund from a hotel with a labor strike forced me to confront a situation outside my comfort zone, be an adult and project confidence that I did not know I had. Getting to know members of the Cornell Branch and TA Custodians reminded me of how grateful I was to be part of the Telluride Association. For the first time, I got to be part of a conversation on Environmental Social Governance principles.
Even though the trip only lasted two days, I discovered another angle on investing. If I had to choose one take-away from this trip, it would be the fact that every fund manager we visited commented on how young and diverse our group was. One manager said, “People like us should listen to people like you because you’re the future.” We are the future, and after this trip, I have obtained the confidence to make my voice heard. Special thanks to all the Custodians on the trip who made it such a valuable learning experience!
Note: As part of its commitment to learning, the Association invites the Michigan and Cornell Branch to elect two House Custodians each, who attend the quarterly Custodians meetings and are a part of discussions on the management of our endowment. During the meetings, Custodians evaluate the performance of our investments, conduct Manager visits or conference calls, and have educational presentations by the members. This is considered an opportunity to involve branchmembers with the wider Association, and leverage their skills in these decisions. House Custodians take back their experiences to share with the Branches and collect feedback. This year, CBTA was represented by Samir Salih and Grace Zhang, and MBTA was represented by Darius Feier and Grace Wang, at the November quarterly meeting of the Custodians in Boston, MA.