Many Carlson School graduates recall working double shifts at coffee houses or restaurants to cover the costs of college tuition and living expenses, in hopes their business school education will someday result in their dream job. But one student has worked in his chosen field since childhood: finance and accounting junior Alex Bossert parlayed his passion for investing into a vehicle to support his education, directly out of high school.
The young investor was recently ranked among the top 14 buyside analysts (investment professionals employed at hedge funds, mutual funds, and private-equity firms) by SumZero, an invite-only social network for the best buyside analysts in the world. The site determined the rankings by judging its 8,000 users' best investing ideas during an 18 month period. The rankings were based on the ideas' returns, and peer rankings. Bossert's overall returns earned second place among the winners, at 52 percent. He placed in the rigorous competition by identifying businesses that are trading for less than they're worth.
"When I research a company, I'm focused on four main things: understanding the business, understanding the industry, understanding how management thinks, and figuring out what the company's worth," he says.
One of the student's winning ideas was based on the current trend of banks trading at far less than they're worth. He cites Bank of America, which is currently trading for $12 a share, while Bossert believes it's worth $25-30.
The burgeoning investor works for Milestone Capital Management, a Wayzata hedge fund and real estate firm. He joined the fund the day after graduating high school. He won the job based on a resume that dated back to his early high school years, when he worked for Dardashti Capital, based in New York.
After starting a business at age ten, Bossert's parents used the profits to open a brokerage account. Soon after, the young analyst began investing, and devouring knowledge on the subject.
"I read a book by Warren Buffet, and realized he had started at a really young age. So I began reading whatever I could get my hands on related to investing," he says.
Bossert's reverence for hero Warren Buffett came full circle when he was profiled in a chapter in Of Permanent Value: The Story of Warren Buffett last year. He continues to follow investing greats like Buffett, Charlie Munger, Peter Lynch, and Joel Greenblatt, and suggests students interested in finance should do the same. In addition to studying up on the subject, Bossert is gearing up to participate in the Carlson School Funds Enterprise -- an applied learning opportunity in which students manage $35 million in real money.
This summer, Bossert will join Fidelity investments in Boston, and work under some of the best mutual fund managers in the country. He hopes to one day open his own hedge fund.
"When choosing a career and a place to work, it's most important to choose a place where you really admire and trust the person you're working for. I ask myself, would I want to work for this person for free? If the answer is yes, that's the person I want to work for," he says. "I've been lucky enough to get paid to do what I really enjoy."