by Kasper Halevy (’24) | April 8, 2022
For the past several years, the Stock Market Club’s primary ventures included allowing Lancers to compete in a real-time financial market simulator through the MarketWatch platform, as well as hosting student-led presentations on fiscal topics.
However, board member Ruhi Maletira (’23) felt that it was time to introduce new activities to sustain interest: “The club itself is doing a lot of [student] presentations, and now club members already know a lot of information. How could we engage their knowledge, or what else can we do to get them more interested by doing something that we haven’t done before?”
In response, the club spearheaded a spring speaker series with a presentation from Rackspace Technology’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Mr. Amar Maletira on March 22 in the Performing Arts Center lobby.
Club president Koena Jaware (’23) shared that “we wanted to give people as much of an experience with the real world as possible. And we’ve been doing that with MarketWatch, but it’s fake money, so we want to go beyond that.”
The Silicon Valley Business Journal named Mr. Maletira the CFO of the Year in 2016. In 2019, he was ranked the top CFO in technology, media, and telecom Mid-Cap by investors and analysts surveyed by the Institutional Investor Magazine.
While attendees were impressed by Mr. Maletira’s success, his fascinating journey was the highlight for several. “He had no aspirations of being a CFO. He first started working in sales for ten years, and then he went to graduate business school in Michigan in 2000. His job that he was supposed to have after business school didn’t end up working out. He became one of the lowest string [employees] as a finance and accounting person at [Hewlett Packard],” Jaware recounted.
Soon afterward, Mr. Maletira worked up the ranks of Hewlett Packard, briefly becoming the CFO of a division before joining Rackspace. Board member Yuna Liang (’23) observed that “it doesn’t matter where you start. When you learn and spend time and effort pursuing a passion, you can get to any level you want to be at. What stood out to me was that he had to build his way back up, from the ground level to becoming CFO once he moved from engineering and sales to finance.”
Besides Mr. Maletira’s corporate experiences, he also provided personal investment advice for his audience. “There are key differences between day traders and long-term investors. He’s the type to be a long-term investor, which means meticulous reviewing of the companies he’s going to put his money into in order to have them flourish,” board member Kyle Nguyen (’23) explained.
Day trading is a controversial investment technique that rose to prominence in the 1990s as a result of extreme price fluctuations of the Dot-com bubble. It involves intraday buying and selling transactions that focus on recent price movements rather than fundamental company statistics that long-term investors analyze.
As Mr. Maletira suggests, participants in day trading are predominantly younger, since imminent retirement renders the high-risk, high-reward approach too hazardous for middle-aged investors. “[His] main point was that once you get to a point where you’re just trying to not lose any money while keeping up with inflation, there’s no point in making uneducated guesses on daily [price] movements,” board member Neil Chulani (’22) elaborated.
While many prosperous day traders do exist, Chulani learned that the strenuous time commitment to constantly monitoring the prices of various financial securities is unsustainable for students or those in the workforce.
After a successful and informative first event, the Stock Market Club seeks to host two more guest speakers this semester. “Bringing in those familiar with investing like traders or brokers would be good speakers to invite. Or, even branching out from [centralized finance], a speaker well-versed in [cryptocurrency] would be super interesting,” Liang remarked.
Beyond this academic year, the group hopes to establish the speaker series as another staple activity similar to the perennial virtual simulator contest. Although premature, the club also has its eyes set on another ambitious goal. “Club members could join together and actually trade stocks and earn real money. The logistics for that are insane, but a lot of colleges have that. If we could implement that at Saint Francis, that’s a really big target of ours for next year,” Jaware said.
With a thriving speaker series and new project ideas on the horizon, there has never been a better time to join the Stock Market Club. Board members encourage those who are intimidated by the complexity of financial markets to read broadly and start their learning journey at club presentations. The ultimate reward of market literacy, Nguyen explains, is being able to earn income passively. “It’s strategic money-making.”