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CBA Students Get Down to Business

CBA Students Get Down to Business

Members of our Canterbury Business Association (CBA) student club had a full agenda in late January! From chatting with industry leaders to visiting a major financial company in New York City, these students greatly benefited from the invaluable learning moments on their week-long “to-do” list…

√ Monday: Meet with Canterbury Alumnus about Angel Investing
The week started with graduate Lawrence Goode ’68 joining students in a Zoom meeting and sharing knowledge from his 30-plus years of success in sales and marketing, business management, consulting, and international sourcing. Currently the Founder and President of strategic consulting firm Goode Advisors, Larry spoke about what angel investing means and how it functions, and what it is like to run a consulting company.

During his talk, Larry described the criteria his firm examines when deciding to invest—including market attractiveness, growth potential, product, competition, and business model. He also stressed to students the importance of a good presentation and, especially, a great management team. “There is a truism that goes, ‘You bet the jockey, not the horse,’” he said. “Put another way, an average-to-above-average product with an all-star management team is far more likely to succeed than the next whiz-bang gadget with second stringers on the management team. Do they have the industry knowledge, background, and business experience to execute on the plan?” That advice resonated deeply with his audience.

√ Tuesday: Spend a Day in the City with J.P. Morgan
The next day, 14 Saints boarded an early train to New York City for a field trip to the Wall Street offices of financial services giant J.P. Morgan. During their visit, the students toured the fixed-income trading floor, enjoyed a catered lunch, and sat down with a number of the company’s managing directors and analysts. One of their hosts, Credit Trader Michael McBride, told them he was “very impressed to see you starting your career search so early in high school.”

All of the J.P. Morgan employees were accommodating, and, as it turned out, the Canterbury name held special meaning to them. Former Vice Chairman James Lee ’71, a Canterbury graduate who passed away in 2015, had a huge role in the lives of so many at the company. “The people we spoke to were mentored by him,” said CBA President Eva Berkovich ’24. “We were given a pamphlet titled The Life Principles of Jimmy Lee. Everyone there admired him, so they enjoyed speaking to students from Canterbury. Mr. Lee shared with them how the School influenced his path after high school and helped him be himself and explore his interests. He was a very powerful and influential person at J.P. Morgan.”

√ Friday: Get a Firsthand Look at Canterbury’s Chief Investment Officer
The CBA and other students were invited to an in-depth presentation by Verger Capital, which manages Canterbury’s endowment and was on campus for the Board of Trustees winter meeting. Verger’s Managing Director of Client Service Liz Laughter and Chief Investment Officer Craig Thomas (pictured) spoke of their approach to “Protect, Perform, Provide”—protect existing assets; perform above spending, inflation, and fees; and provide for their clients.

History Teacher and CBA Faculty Advisor Ted Smith was pleased that students had the chance to gain an insider’s perspective from such a successful company. “They learned about investment policy statements, the Verger management processes, and how they are likely to do very well even when the market is down, which protects institutions like Canterbury,” Ted explained.

Eva also attended breakfast the next morning with Verger and the Board, and she was thrilled with the opportunity to speak with Verger’s CEO, Jim Dunn P ’15. “He explained the principles of Verger’s investment strategy, the balance between risk and return,” Eva said. “He also talked about how they invest in hedge funds and negotiate for lower fees so the return is well worth the fees.”

The entire week left quite an impression on CBA member Julian Bonasera ’26. “One day, I would like to invest in companies and give small startup businesses a chance,” he said. “Something that stuck out to me from all the presenters is the importance of building relationships, growing your network, and developing skills that will help you in life—and to never stop learning.”

We are exceedingly grateful to Larry, the J.P. Morgan staff, and the Verger representatives for providing these wonderful opportunities to our students. Continuing education and making connections are often at the top of any “to-do” list, and these business-minded Saints accomplished those goals and more.