Back to school is here again in the fall, and new college students are eager to make their mark on the world. For young investors, it’s easy to name Warren Buffett or George Soros as idols; both have absolutely dominated the investment world for decades.
But the world we live in is very different from the one that both men encountered after college graduation. Young, hopeful investors should be looking up to people closer to their own age.
Here are the top seven young investors.
Ryan Israel is a 29-year-old partner at Pershing Square Capital Management. He came to the firm from Goldman Sachs, where he worked as an investment banker and has an economics degree from the Wharton School. Ryan works under Bill Ackman, a man famous for hiring anyone he thinks can get the job done, regardless of education or age.
The two investors share a love for Warren Buffett's investing style, and Israel was instrumental in the hedge fund’s investment in Burger King (QSR) and subsequent takeover of Tim Horton’s (QSR) as a tax-saving strategy.
Sam Altman is the cofounder of Loopt, a social network that shares a users’ location with friends. Loopt’s initial funding came from Y Combinator, a company which would, in 2014, hire Altman as its president. Y Combinator is a venture capital company that has invested in more than 800 companies, including Airbnb, Dropbox, reddit, Pinterest and WePay.
(See also: How WePay Works.)
Alex Banayan is a 22-year-old university student and venture capital associate with Alsop Louis Partners. He was named the youngest venture capitalist ever when he surprised even himself by landing an associate position at the age of 19.
He is currently writing a book based on his experiences. It will include interviews from wildly successful people.
Katherine Chan studied at Harvard and had years of experience as an investment analyst before cofounding Anandar Capital. Anandar Capital is a hedge fund that had almost $400 million in holdings as of March 2015.
Brett Berson is a vice president at First Round, a company that provides start-ups with seed money. He got his start at the company as an intern while a student at New York University. First Round has invested in companies like Birchbox, FlightCar, Uber, ModCloth and Square.
CeCe Cheng, also at First Round, joined the venture capital company in 2011. There she is the director of the Dorm Room Fund, a project that provides college start-ups with seed money and guidance to make their ideas reality. The fund, while still in its infancy, already has a number of strong companies in its portfolio.
Lucy Baldwin has been called the "next Big Thing" at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS). She has an economics degree and was a former mergers and acquisitions analyst before deciding to work in equity research. Currently, she is the managing director of Goldman Sachs European retail and consumer goods equity research team and is the go-to person for luxury goods industry knowledge.
The Bottom Line
Current university students looking to get into the tech, finance or investing world should look up to these seven top investors when trying to emulate a career path. Hard work, good luck and a passion for investing in start-ups seems to be the recipe for success these days, and young people would be smart to look towards nontraditional ways of investing.