Dress rehearsal for
the professional world

A dozen or so years after graduating from Virginia Tech, James Rosenstock established a university fund with fellow alumnus Trey Snow (FIN ’93, MBA ’95), with $50,000 pledges each, to give more educational opportunities to students in SEED and BASIS, two student-investor groups that currently manage $5 million each of the university’s endowment.

“It was such a bold move in 1993 for the Virginia Tech Foundation to give students $1 million to invest — at the time it was almost unheard of,” says Rosenstock, who joined SEED in its third year. The experience proved to be “a game changer” for him.

“SEED provided me with my first ‘real world’ working experience — how to analytically frame an opportunity and present your viewpoint in a coherent way. It was an invaluable experience for a 21-year-old.”

Wanting other students to have the same benefit, Rosenstock and Snow, who led SEED at the time, set up what is now known as the SEED/BASIS Alumni Excellence Fund.

Philanthropy aside, Rosenstock has offered his time and expertise to the college: serving on the finance advisory board, sharing his professional knowledge and experience in informal meetings with finance students; regularly attending and helping to host or coordinate the Hokies on Wall Street networking and social events; and just generally offering his assistance with helping the college make connections on Wall Street.

Asked what has motivated his high level of engagement with his alma mater, Rosenstock says: “I grew up with humble roots, and I always remember those folks who helped me along. The Virginia Tech community is about hard work, dedication, and selfless service. I’m just a link in that chain that goes back 150 years.”

Besides SEED, Pamplin and its finance department gave him an education that he describes as “a dress rehearsal” for the professional world. He particularly liked the department’s early development of courses on financial derivatives, “which were analytically very challenging.”

Today, “greater specialization of the curriculum around such things as asset management, commercial banking, or entrepreneurship could be helpful.”

Rosenstock has hired many Virginia Tech students for summer internships and full-time positions and lent a helping hand to fellow alumni seeking Wall Street jobs. He has also been proud to help connect Discovery’s recruiters with Pamplin job-seekers: “our graduates make a great fit at Discovery.”

Headquartered in Silver Spring, Md., the company already employs many Virginia Tech graduates. It looks for people with a “highly analytical and global mindset,” Rosenstock says.

“We like independent and entrepreneurial types who can work well in teams and who are as curious and inspired by the world around them as our viewers are.”


Virginia Tech Pamplin College of Business Virginia Tech Pamplin College of Business Magazine Spring 2014

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