Tuck Bridge Stories: An Interview with Kevin Schoelzel
Kevin Schoelzel is a 2014 graduate of Vanderbilt Univeristy where he majored in political science, economics, and history. Kevin attended the Bridge Program in the summer of 2013. Currently, he is a research analyst at Gatemore Capital Management, an investment advisory firm that serves high net worth families and institutional clients in the US and Europe. We recently discussed his Tuck Bridge experience. This is Kevin's story:
What do you do at Gatemore?
I research funds and managers across various asset classes and strategies to find differentiated investments that are uncorrelated to their broader markets. Finding these opportunities entails meeting with managers, attending conferences, researching industries, and learning about many different kinds of business models.
I am part of Gatemore’s research team which works out of New York, Philadelphia, London and Paris. We meet regularly to discuss new ideas and work through our due-diligence process in order to gain a better understanding of each investment. In sum, the process is very intellectually engaging, as we assess the return drivers and risks of various opportunities. Ultimately we strive to design a portfolio that fulfills the long-term objectives of our clients.
Why did you choose to attend Bridge?
During my junior year, I began to focus on what I wanted to do professionally after college. I had really enjoyed school and wanted to find a job that would continue to fuel my intellectual curiosity. Reflecting on what I liked, I decided to pursue a career in either financial services or consulting.
I graduated from Vanderbilt University in 2014 with degrees in Political Science, Economics and History together with a minor in Engineering Management. This broad liberal arts undergraduate experience taught me to think critically and solve problems. Vanderbilt does not offer an undergraduate business degree and I wanted to augment my majors with a better understanding of business concepts to fill in some of the gaps to become a more competitive candidate in the jobs market. The Bridge program helped me take the tools I had been developing in college and apply them in a business setting.
What surprised you about Bridge?
How fast time flies at Bridge. Looking back at the end of the program, I was amazed at how much I had learned in a relatively short period of time.
What was your favorite moment/thing?
My favorite moment at Bridge was the final presentation. My team analyzed and prepared a valuation analysis on Crown Castle International (a telecommunications company that builds and operates cell towers). I remember working during the last week with my team as we pulled together everything we had learned to do our analysis of the company. After reading through the SEC filings, learning about the industry from a former CEO of another tower company, and layering in our own analysis, my team had a comprehensive presentation which took an in-depth look at a company, and entire industry, we had known very little about ten days earlier. We put the finishing touches on the presentation on July 4th and practiced most of the day, finishing in time to catch some of the fireworks. The final presentation was the next day in front of a panel of Tuck professors, distinguished Tuck Business School alumni, and other leading executives. It was very rewarding to present our thesis on Crown Castle to the panel and get their feedback on the company.
My favorite thing about Bridge was definitely the people. I made a lot of friends during the program who I have continued to stay in touch with since. Recently, I moved from Denver (my hometown) to New York and it has been great having another group of friends from Bridge already in the city.
Do you think Bridge prepared you for your career?
Most definitely. Along with providing a solid introduction to business disciplines like marketing, accounting, finance, and strategy, the program also helped me refine my focus on what I wanted to do after graduating from college.
In addition to the formal course work, the Career Bridge lunch sessions on resume writing, interviewing, and cover letters, were all very helpful for conveying what I had learned at Bridge and at school to companies that I wanted to join once I entered the working world.