Updated: Sep 16, 2020
Today’s featured volunteer is Alex Ingerman, who graduated U Penn in 2019 and currently works at a leading financial consulting firm in NYC. We asked him a few questions about his experiences with investing and with FGI.
What was your first investment?
My first investment was in Yahoo. I was 8 years old and didn't have a trading account yet, so I bought 1 share from my dad. I understood that the value of a company's stock was driven by performance and threw several temper tantrums when Yahoo had bad earnings or share price dropped.
How did you get involved with FGI?
I co-founded FGI with Dylan and Cole and remember the excitement we all shared when we taught the first lesson at Boys Latin Charter School. We had been working for months flushing out the full concept of FGI, meeting with Wharton faculty to plan the program, drafting a curriculum, and identifying potential high school students. That first lesson was taught early on a Saturday morning in a high school classroom with 3 students, 3 tutors, and one photographer to mark the occasion. It's incredible to look back on the early days of FGI and see what it has grown into, and what it will continue to grow into in the coming years.
What have you found most rewarding about FGI?
The most rewarding part of FGI has been seeing students change their outlook on the stock market and on investing. Many students come into the program knowing little to nothing about investing and finance, as if the stock market is some obscure concept with no impact on their daily lives. Throughout the program, students learn how easy and important it is to participate in the stock market and reap the rewards of market returns. My favorite part of the program is the lesson on compounding interest. We show that with an initial investment of $300 and subsequent contributions of $31 per week, after 50 years of 8% returns and compounding interest, an investor will have over $1 million. You can visibly see it click in the students' minds when they realize that there are clear and manageable steps they can take to achieve long term wealth. Watching students realize the power of compounding interest in enabling long term financial security is an incredible experience.
What’s been your favorite memory of FGI?
My favorite memory of FGI was when Jeff Smith, founder of Starboard Value, visited a session at UPenn in 2019. We had originally planned for him to speak for 10-15 minutes about his career as a hedge fund manager and activist investor and then to continue with the lesson as normal. Instead, the students bombarded him with questions on his investment philosophy, business decisions, and general outlook on the financial markets. The types of questions our students asked and the genuine interest in Jeff's insights was incredible. Jeff later told us that the questions our students asked reminded him of being part of a panel for Wharton MBA students. I couldn't stop smiling for hours.
Any other comments?
I'm proud to be a part of such an incredible organization!