Over my four years at Penn I have had the opportunity to be part of many organizations, and I can honestly say that Global Platinum Securities (GPS) has been one of the most rewarding both socially and academically.
GPS is an intercollegiate student-run investment fund that manages around $220,000 and consists of 50 members from seven colleges around the US and LSE in the UK. New members are accepted in their freshmen or sophomore years and subsequently go through an education program before being inducted. Afterwards, members analyze companies and participate in weekly calls in their sector. There are also weekly meetings to review investment ideas or listen to experts in various fields present ideas.
When I was accepted as a freshman, I had no idea what the three financial statements or let alone a discounted cash flow (DCF) was. Through the carefully crafted educational program I began to fill these gaps in my knowledge. However, more important than the finance and accounting skills I gained, I really began to learn how companies work – something you can’t get from just taking classes. These skills were further reinforced through analyzing companies in weekly sector meetings.
However, what truly sets GPS apart from most organizations is the people. Members inducted into GPS are driven and come from diverse backgrounds. You talk to members from other schools weekly on Skype and meet at three conferences throughout the year. During my sophomore year, I had a friend I had met in the summer from LSE cross the pond and stay with me for several days at Penn. Also, last summer in New York, both members and alumni grabbed dinner and drinks on several occasions.
The strong alumni network brings many other benefits as well. In the past, GPS has gotten to meet with people like Warren Buffet, Peter Lynch, and Arnold Schwarzenegger. During the conferences, investment banks like JP Morgan and hedge funds like Tiger allow us to visit their offices and hear from top employees. The alumni themselves are highly successful in a variety of fields such as finance, consulting, tech and startups thus providing a great resource for career advice.
GPS has been integral to my college experience by teaching me how to think like an investor and introducing me to many amazing lifelong friends. I am grateful to have been part of the organization for four years, and I plan on being involved for years to come.