Alumni Share Professional Experiences in Economics Class

Six Loomis Chaffee alumni who work in finance, investing, and entrepreneurial business sectors met with Applied Economics students this winter to share their backgrounds, professional experiences, and overviews of their businesses.

The alumni guest speakers, invited by the course’s teacher, Mat DeNunzio, also answered questions from the students during the one-hour sessions, which the alumni joined via videoconference.  

Ned Salter ’95, global head of investment research at Fidelity International, visited the class on February 3 from his office in London. Discussing how values are calculated for products and services, Ned also offered insights into his career and his day-to-day work. 

Gretchen Engster Howard ’91, chief operating officer of the no-fee online trading app Robinhood, met with the class on February 9. Gretchen talked with the students about the importance of investing early as individuals and discussed the concept of demonetizing financial markets, among other topics the class was studying.

Loomis Chaffee Trustee Rachel Kort ’98, who works as a portfolio manager at Hall Capital Partners in New York and oversees the school’s investment advisory team, spoke with the class on February 18 about managing individuals’ and institutions’ investment portfolios and the idea of asset allocation.

In a week focusing on careers on Wall Street, Martin Vulliez ’90 and Michael Anderson ’76 visited with students to offer their perspectives on the trading and investment banking aspects of Wall Street. Martin joined the class on February 22 from his office at Cadian Capital, where he is a partner and head trader. Michael, who visited virtually on February 26, is a managing director at The Blueshirt Group, an investment consulting firm, and worked for more than 30 years in investment banking. In addition to describing their day-to-day lives on Wall Street, both alumni discussed the skills students should develop if they are interested in careers in finance.

On March 3, Jason Karp ’94 met with the class from his home in Austin, Texas, to discuss his experiences as a student, a former hedge fund manager, and an entrepreneur devoted to sustainability and healthy living. He advised students to be passionate about mission-driven businesses but make sure to have a solid understanding of economic and business principles to be successful with them. A former Loomis Chaffee Trustee, Jason is the chief executive officer of HumanCo, a health and wellness holding company, and the chairman and co-founder of Hu Kitchen and Hu Products.

Mat said he enjoyed seeing the students make connections with fellow Pelicans, and the students appreciated that the alumni took the time to speak with them.

“In every one of our visits, alumni talked about the importance of a liberal arts education, learning how to fail and develop a growth mindset. These are lasting skills that we try to teach, regardless of what profession any student ends up in,” Mat commented. He is looking forward welcoming more alumni guest speakers to Applied Economics classes this spring.