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Three traditions, one practical lesson

05 April 2019

 Salomons Judgement

What should a group of talented and passionate students about to become investors know apart from the theory?

When your thoughts go back to your time as a student, do you feel the adrenaline rush you always had before the exams again? As a professor I experience the same stress. Every year I have to think of exam questions that test the knowledge of my students and are preferably up to date as well. It’s a relief for both the students and me when this period is over, especially when it turns out that they did well. We all drink to that.  

Professors always stand on the shoulders of their predecessors. Some things you have to adjust, but there are also many things you can leave unchanged. I have adopted three traditions from my predecessor. In an earlier column, I wrote about the investment game. The second tradition is to take students on an annual study trip. In the past we visited the stock exchange in Amsterdam, but the Zuidas is a better place for open outcry nowadays. At our office, we treat ourselves to lectures of friends and former colleagues who work with large institutional investors. It’s an ideal place for students to gain some practical knowledge.

Master the theory

In the past few days, I have worked my way through more than forty exams. There were many essay questions to assess whether students master the theory. Then comes the third tradition. Exactly one week after the exam we’re having a drink together with the students at the bar of the Academy Building in Groningen. We then call the graduates forward one by one.

I cannot reveal the success rates yet, but I can say that this was one of the best groups I’ve had in years. Some nice, interactive, curious and passionate near-graduates ready to become smart investors. Wherever they will end up, they will be fine. They know their theory, how to put it into practice and they have received some important practical lessons.

The day at the Zuidas is also an opportunity to network and for the guest speakers to spot some talent. However, the best person to know about talent is myself. Every year there is at least one in a million. A student who stands out from the crowd with some good case studies, a clear investment philosophy and an exam that was a pleasure to review. This makes a teacher happy. A tradition of talent. I see this particular student manage your money. And have a suggestion where to do so … 

The author

Roelof Salomons

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