DFE Lunch & Learn Series Presents Opportunities for Students and Alumni in Finance to Learn, Connect

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

At a Duke Financial Economics Center (DFE) Lunch & Learn on Nov. 10, host Louis-Vincent Gave (B.A. ’96) covered a wide range of topics, from his take on Chinese President Xi Jinping’s second-term priorities to tax reform and the rise of populism in the United States. However, the main theme he stressed to the small group of sophomores and juniors was more personal. “If I can leave you with one message today, it would be: Get to know yourself; do lots of introspection.”

Gave, who studied economics, history, and Chinese as an undergraduate, is a founding partner and the CEO of Gavekal, a financial services company headquartered in Hong Kong that provides global investment research, money management, and software services for investment professionals. In his second DFE Lunch & Learn in two years, Gave talked about starting his career in the midst of the Asian financial crisis in the late 1990s and learning the difference between a career path that sounded interesting to him (“I came into finance thinking ‘I want to be in private equity’ because that sounds glorious, like ‘Masters of the Universe.’”) and the path that actually suited him (“I was much happier hanging out with a spreadsheet, having time to read and reflect.”). He urged students to connect with their genuine interests, strengths, and weaknesses so that they are better able to identify finance roles that will fulfill them in the long run.

One of the students in attendance, senior Oliver Kilpatrick, met Gave at his previous Lunch & Learn in Nov. 2016. His interest piqued by Gave’s remarks on behavioral finance in a macroeconomic context, Kilpatrick emailed Gave after the 2016 event, asking if Gavekal had internship opportunities. Gave responded by connecting Kilpatrick to an intern recruiter. The following February, Kilpatrick accepted a summer internship position at Gavekal.

“As an intern in the money management division of the company, I worked directly under a portfolio manager in charge of the Gavekal Asian Value Fund,” Kilpatrick told the DFE. “I was given two key projects to focus on that revolved around Indian IT services and the Asian electronic display industries. My task was to determine the outlook for each industry and highlight company specific investment opportunities.”

Kilpatrick completed his internship appreciative of the level of mentorship and shadowing his boss afforded him: “As a consequence, I came away not only with a treasure trove of newly acquired knowledge but also a change in the manner in which I thought about investing as a whole.” He plans to pursue finance, hopefully in Hong Kong, which has been his home since the age of three.

“The Gavekal internship definitely played a role in solidifying my desire to work in the finance industry. Through it I had a first-hand perspective of what it will be like working post-graduation, and I relished the new challenges and opportunities each day on the job provided.”

“This is the kind of story we love to hear,” remarked John Caccavale, executive director of the DFE. “Not all students will be able to turn an inspiring Lunch & Learn experience into an internship like Oliver did, but they get candid perspectives from alumni that can really spark an interest or provide direction. Alumni tell us that they appreciate the opportunity to get in tune with what today’s Duke students are excited about.”

The DFE’s Lunch & Learn program began in 2010. In an academic year, the DFE holds eight to 10 Lunch & Learns with space for 20 students at each event. Students are invited to register on a first-come, first-served basis via the DFE Email List.