Michael Scaldini

Class of 2014
Major/Minor: Double-major: Political Science and Economics

The coolest thing is receiving serious training in how to analyze and interpret data from a variety of sources, whether the Wall Street Journal or a sales clerk at Lulu Lemon.

Mr. Bookbinder has been adamant about teaching us to look for investment ideas hidden not only in portfolio or investor reviews but also in our day-to-day experiences. If 40 million people eat at McDonald’s and drink Starbucks each day, or buy clothes at the Gap, are those companies I would be interested in owning? What do I think I know about the company that the person selling me the stock doesn’t?

Portfolio focus: Materials, Construction, Pipeline renovation

Our water infrastructure in this country is completely outdated; the most recent large-scale installation of pipes and waterworks infrastructure having occurred in the years during and following World War II. Today, home builders are on the rise again, as people have taken advantage of cheap real estate and foreclosed properties. This is a sign of the middle class slowly being rebuilt. My goal is to find at least three to four companies that are in a position to take advantage of this increasing demand. I am looking for companies that will be able to sustain growth in these areas for the next three to five years, not just post profits in the next six months–though I won’t complain if they do.

Key information sources: The EconomistWall Street JournalCNBC, Journal of Portfolio Management, Journal of Investing, Barron’s.

Biggest challenge: Making sure that when I present an idea to Mr. Bookbinder and the group, I have done every possible amount of research that is appropriate and that the logic I use is sound. I need to have a complete understanding of the risks of the position and the potential benefits. I cannot go into a meeting and make a half-baked suggestion. Everyone in the room is smart enough to recognize when someone hasn’t prepared enough when sharing an idea. It’s embarrassing. Plus, wrong decisions = lost money. I hate being wrong, and most of all I hate losing money.

Career goal: Rise up the ranks in either international venture capital or international banking, with a focus in economically developing nations and unexplored markets.

Advice for prospective members: Alex. Brown is a sacrifice. You do not get college credit, you will work hard, and the program may at times frustrate you. But those are not negatives; sacrifice of leisure time, hard work, and frustration build character. You will get a glimpse of what awaits in the world of finance outside of college and the lessons Alex. Brown will teach you will be invaluable. So if you are ambitious, hard-working, and interested in what we do, then you belong with us.