Joey Begg ’21
Sean Manning ’19 and Andrew Smith ’19 are the founders of HC Capital, a club that they say gives Holy Cross students not only exposure to the finance industry, but also technical skills that they can take into internships. I sat down to interview them and a few other members on Monday night in Hogan Campus Center. Andrew is the portrait of someone who has his life together: combed hair, eye contact, and patient verbal pacing. The mildly busy space around us shrinks away to a dull roar as Andrew’s matter of fact voice informs me: “Last year we had seventy applicants, we let in sixteen; this year we had fifty-five and let in twenty.” If an applicant makes it past the low acceptance rate, they become part of the junior analyst program, then later part of a portfolio team that covers research on specific companies organized by sectors: technology, industrials, and consumer goods. “More advanced members follow a certain set of stocks on a day to day basis following earning reports and composing their own equity research reports” Manning says. These more advanced members are called Analysts. As Sean speaks, he thumps his hand on the table, or waves at someone walking by; he’s highly personable. It quickly becomes apparent that being able to thoughtfully relate information in more sophisticated ways is an important part of HC Capital, and the business world that they’re trying to prepare students for.
Sean Kelly ’21 is a junior analyst in HC Capital’s training program. He receives assignments, readings, and videos pertaining to valuation and accounting fundamentals and goes to weekly meetings ultimately preparing to become an analyst for one of the three aforementioned sectors—tech, consumer goods, or industrials. He spends roughly five or six hours a week studying material related to the global economy, doing things like completing a Bloomberg market concepts class to better understand how to use the Bloomberg terminal, and speaking with Holy Cross Alumni in the financial services industry. His role so far in the club is to train and prepare for becoming a full analyst next semester. When asked what he thinks is valuable about HC Capital, Kelly said, “I think the real world experience it gives you is important to see what your part in the economy really is; the whole global economy is connected, and the liberal arts education is a great way to start learning about this.” As a Biology major, he’s keen to the wide appeal of financial expertise, and emphasizes it as a component of his liberal arts education here at Holy Cross.
Having successfully completed the training program, Analyst Liam Busconi ’21 of the technology sector is covering research in Ebay, Alibaba, and Amazon. Outside of actively covering those equities, he is responsible for being knowledgeable of the e-commerce industry. He says he uses the Bloomberg terminal upwards of three to four hours a week: “because of the fact that a lot of my stuff is consumer based, it’s a lot easier to find news and searching for information in [the terminal] than in, say, something like the Wall Street Journal.” Liam is eyeing his future in HC Capital, noting that the 12-14 members will be lost this year in the outgoing senior class. “Because of the significant amount of people leaving, I don’t know what position I’ll be given, but I consider myself rising in the ranks.” Outstanding analysts are promoted to Portfolio Managers, becoming in charge of an entire sector of research.
Portfolio Managers, PMs for short, leads an entire sector’s analysts and their research. Right now, PM Jack Boyd ’21 is co-leading a group of 5 analysts covering research on approximately 12 equities in the Industrials sector. He uses the Bloomberg terminal to stay highly informed on the research they cover. “When our analysts come forward with questions regarding research and equity reports, we’re able to answer them,” says Boyd. He examines macroeconomic trends such as the spread of US Treasuries that can forecast economic events, such as recessions, but also gives context to the Industrials Sector as a whole. “My responsibility is to foster idea generation, offer guidance on researching equities, and aid analysts in conceptualizing bottom-up valuation in conjunction with macro-economic trends, such as the Treasury spread.”
As seniors, Manning and Smith will be leaving the club they founded as they find themselves approaching their final semester at Holy Cross. Andrew points out that the research performed by the club is followed for years, so attention to a professional structure and purposeful faculty and alumni involvement is essential to the long term success of the club.
Short of additional capital, Andrew and Sean both cited diversity within the group as something important to HC Capital. “We number one want to make sure that inclusivity within [HC Capital] continues, and number two provide more resources to our students.” Sean adds that a personal long term goal of his for the club is to have 100% placement for HC Capital members in internships, but he emphasizes that HC Capital offers valuable skills that traverse industries into personal management. “These are very much life skills, you need to know how to invest, you need to be able to manage a 401k, these are skills that apply to a variety of different industries.” Sean says that last year roughly 95% of members had secured internships, and although it’s fairly early in the process, a few members have already nailed down highly coveted New York City summer internships at places like Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, and Blackstone. Andrew and Sean have accepted offers for full time jobs at Goldman Sachs and Raytheon respectively.
The intersection of financial research, current events, and macro-economic trends point toward the holistic nature of HC Capital, and are a further testament to finance as part of the liberal arts experience. Ultimately, the next generation that is rising through the ranks – or future analysts applying in the next cycle – will carry on once the seniors leave. Solid leadership and purposeful involvement has ensured that HC Capital is in good hands and growing. They are next accepting applications in the Fall.