By Chris Thompson '24
On Tuesday, February 21, 2023, Mr. Keith Anderson, father of Cormac Anderson ‘27, presented to the Finance Academy his Hitchhiker's Guide to the Finance World which explains the various participants within the finance world and the respective roles each profession plays.
Keith Anderson previously was the Chief Financial Officer and Head of M&A at Amwell, a Boston-based telehealth company that IPO’d in the middle of the COVID pandemic. After graduating from Notre Dame with degrees in accounting and theology, Mr. Anderson led the healthcare information technology efforts at investment banks in both New York and London. But as Mr. Anderson explained to the Finance Academy, “accounting is the language of business” and he followed a non-traditional path into the finance world by first working in the public accounting sector with Ernst & Young before joining investment banking.
As a follow-up to his first presentation where he explained how start-ups fundraise, this evening Mr. Anderson explained how finance plays an important role in every aspect of the economy and so finance is a means to work in a field that one might not have the “physical skills” to normally participate (NFL, professional fishing, MLB). Mr. Anderson illustrated the vast finance industry “dance floor” by revisiting the fund-raising road map he first presented to the Finance Academy the previous week as he explained an initial public offering. He then listed the vast number of professionals who are involved in these financings and explained their respective roles. These include securities lawyers, accountants, investment bankers, corporate and commercial bankers, venture capitalists, research analysts, hedge fund analysts, buy-side analysts, private equity analysts, pension funds, endowments, wealth management, mutual funds and stock custodians. He also mentioned the financial news industry, government securities agencies (SEC, FTC, Federal Reserve) and opportunities to work at the NASDAQ and NYSE exchanges.
Next, Mr. Anderson explained the unique role of Investment Banks by their primary two functions: financing (through debt and equity) and advising (Mergers and Acquisitions or “M&A”). Mr. Anderson then dove deep into the intricacies of the investment banking business, describing their structure, the differences between Corporate and Commercial Banks, Private Wealth Management, ECM and DCM, research and sales & trading. Throughout this comprehensive overview, Mr. Anderson paused to answer the many astute questions posed by the Finance Academy members.
Mr. Anderson ended the discussion with his advice on how to get a job in the finance industry after college. Basically he said in college to “focus on the areas that you truly love” and that “finance can be a way to work whatever sector truly excites us.” He said Princeton University does not even have a business school and yet many Princeton graduates go to Wall Street after college. In terms of working in sectors that one loves, examples he provided included money managers for MLB baseball players, the finance department for the Boston Bruins, the finance department for the Yellowfin fishing boat manufacturer and the University of Notre Dame Endowment Fund. He himself loves Notre Dame football and was able to review Notre Dame football players’ NFL contracts while representing the NFL Players Association as an accountant for Ernst & Young. He ended the discussion saying that Boston is one of the world’s top finance centers and we are lucky as many key roles in the finance world exist here in Boston.
To end the presentation, Mr. Anderson presented members of the Finance Academy with book recommendations (list below) and valuable advice. His advice for all members was “do not discount accounting, it is the path into business and more ‘higher level’ jobs,” “take courses in economics and statistics,” and most importantly, “follow your heart and not the money.”
The Finance Academy thanks Mr. Anderson for sharing his passion for finance, explaining all the various ways one can participate in the finance world and for taking the time to explain the many components of an Investment Bank.
WSJ – Guide to Understanding Money and Investing
Liar’s Poker by Michael Lewis
Barbarians at the Gate by John Helyar and Bryan Burrough
Smartest Guys in the Room by Bethany McLean and Peter Elkind
Too Big to Fail by Andrew Ross Sorkin
Den of Thieves by James B. Stewart
Moneyball by Michael Lewis
The Big Short – Inside the Doomsday Machine by Michael Lewis