There are quite a few things that I want to talk about in this post, first and foremost my process of writing my speech. I will then go on to say a bit about my research and learning centre planning.
The highly technical aspects of my eminent person, Ben Graham, meant that my speech would have to center on his core contribution to the world, a stock investing principle. I had quite a bit of trouble deciding what I wanted to direct my focus. I knew that an informative speech is not what the audience came to hear, and I knew that because Graham is such an inspirational and compassionate person in sharing his ideas; I wanted my speech to inspire the audience. Ben Graham hoped to every day do
“something foolish, something creative, and something generous,”
and that is the attitude that I wanted to focus upon.
The final theme of the speech that I decided on was that value investing is the key to success both in the stock market and in life. Indeed, many things are interconnected and similar in many ways, and time-tested principles can often serve as an allusion to something else. I completed my speech, but the more that I practiced, the clearer I understood Graham’s perspective. I ended up rewriting a new copy a couple of days before NotN. My peers did not find any mistakes to fix, but again, as I read the speech over and over I discovered better ways to phrase some paragraph. I only wish I started sooner so I can incorporate those changes and have time to practice still. You can find both versions of my speech here.
This year, I was not able to secure an interview. I sent out around 10 emails, and around 3 replied with a “no”. The rest were stones thrown in the ocean, never to be heard of again. The two versions of my request email are featured here, as well as a record of who I sent out an email to.
I think that this year’s unsatisfactory results are due to my emails being too concentrated in a few organizations. I chose to focus on Columbia Business School because it is the school that Graham taught at, and is now a value investing centre. There is even an option on their website to filter professors who specialize in value investing. Most of my emails there went unanswered, suggesting that maybe that period is a stressful time for them. Besides that, I found two organizations that focus on value investing. One of them is a mutual funds group, and the other an educational research institution. I sent the rest of my emails to their staff.
If another opportunity like this comes up, I will try to find people in more diverse locations and institutions, to increase my chances of finding someone who is available and willing to help. Like the saying in the investment community and elsewhere,
“Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.”
My initial ideas for my learning centre is to make it like an office space. I knew that when Graham was young, he used to work posting stock and bonds prices on the walls of the trading centres. From that, I had the idea of posting stock prices and asking visitors what they would want to buy. I tried to use foam boards and push pins to resemble posting prices on blackboards, and put up multiple frames to make the space look more “professional”. Here is a video of the final result, versus the plan.
Overall, I would say that this year’s Eminent is not much different from last year and that all the differences are positive changes! It is hard work for all of us, from the students to the teachers, and it looks like we all did the best we could to produce such a spectacular night. Ciao to Eminent, and good luck to the nines for next year.
- Remember to make a list of supplies needed, and write everything down. I forgot to bring something and didn’t have time to put up other things.
- Keep in mind that people WILL come and try to use their lockers when you just finished putting up paper on the walls.
- try to actually compare the wall length and width to your design, and don’t change your design on the day of. Go scout the locations a day before and imagine the placing of everything [Use this doc, it has all the dimensions of locker bays]