By Lacie Blankenship
The Max Adler Student Investment Fund (MASIF) honors Max Adler, a prominent New York businessman with an unconventional connection to Vanderbilt. Adler, a Broadway connaisseur and investor, was led to Vanderbilt Owen after listening to Charles Doraine (MMgt’72) pitch a potential Broadway script. The script didn’t win over Adler, but Doraine’s entrepreneurial mindset and personal testimony to Vanderbilt did.
Following Adler’s unexpected death in 1979, his wife Mimi continued his legacy with a gift to the Vanderbilt Owen Graduate School of Management, founding MASIF in 1983.
Mimi’s had 2 initial goals for MASIF: to give students a chance to manage money through real-life investments and to (eventually) fund scholarships. The first Max Adler scholarship was awarded in 2008 to Bill Lambert (BE’03, MBA’08).
Today, MASIF exists as Mimi intended. “We manage the fund by making real-life investments, and once the fund reaches a certain value, funds are withdrawn for scholarships or other school needs,” explains Harris Parvaze (MBA’22), MASIF Co-Fund Manager.
“MASIF allows people interested in investment management or any role in finance for that matter, to explore this field deeper, and connect with like-minded people while doing some good in the process,” adds Rudy Pedraza (MBA’22), MASIF Co-Fund Manager.
The fund consists of different sectors – technology, industrials, communications, utilities, and energy. Each industry has a portfolio manager with a supporting team of analysts who establish investment recommendations.
Fund managers Parvaze and Pedraza oversee the portfolio managers and have the final approval on their investment recommendations before passing it over to Peter Haslag, MASIF Advisor and Assistant Professor of Finance, to execute trades. Parvaze and Pedraza have been fund managers for nearly a year and will soon pass the torch to 3 new fund managers.
“A lot of the platforms you can learn investing from is with fake money, and that’s great to get some exposure, but that is very different than dealing with real money,” says Parvaze. “With MASIF, you are dealing with a significant sum of money, and with that money, you’re investing to make an impact.”
“There are real-world payoffs for participating – for yourself intellectually, connections with the alumni network, a strong experience on your resume, and helping the Max Adler Fund,” says Pedraza. “I even landed an offer from a firm that I connected with my interviewer on common grounds that they were a Vandy alum and former MASIF fund manager.”