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Williams Investment Society Appoints 2015 Directors

The Williams Investment Society has named its 2015 directors. James Emanuelson ’16 will serve as the Society’s executive director. Kiril Krendov ’16 and Brian Krouskos ’16 will serve as directors.

Emanuelson is a business administration and accounting major from Dallas, Texas; Krendov is a business administration major from Sofia, Bulgaria; and Krouskos is an accounting and business administration major from Alpharetta, Ga. All three have already secured summer internships, at Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank, and JP Morgan respectively.

The Williams Investment Society (WIS) is a student-led co-curricular club that invests a portion of Washington and Lee University’s endowment in equity securities. Forty students manage a portfolio of more than $5.5 million; each year, their goal is to beat the return rate of the S&P 500.

“Investing real capital in the market helps students develop interest and expertise in investments and financial analysis—an experience that sets Washington and Lee apart from many other schools,” said Adam Schwartz, a business administration professor and the advisor of WIS.

Students can join WIS as first-years, sophomores, or juniors. Emanuelson, Krendov and Krouskos all joined as sophomores. The application process, which includes a written application as well as an in-person interview, is strenuous. Less than half of all applicants earn a spot in the group.

Directors are chosen by the society’s outgoing leadership team with oversight by Professor Schwartz. To be considered for a leadership role, applicants must be members of WIS who have demonstrated an outstanding commitment to the society.

“Choosing the new directors required careful consideration. We took many factors into account, such as financial knowledge, communication and presentation skills, and the quality of work each applicant had contributed to the group so far,” said Sarah Beth Hampton ’15, WIS’s outgoing executive director.

Directors are responsible for recruiting new members and ensuring that they get up to speed quickly. They also work closely to coordinate visits by corporate recruiters and guest speakers. Faculty and alumni frequently make guest presentations at meetings. Economics professor Linda Hooks often presents on current Fed policy, alumni Brian Keegan ’11 and Jason Harden ’12 of Sands Capital Management advised WIS this past year, and the group recently enjoyed a teleconference with Board of Trustees member Bill Miller ’72, the former chairman and chief investment officer of Legg Mason Capital Management.

WIS meets two to three times per week. Upon acceptance into the society, students are assigned to a specific industry group, such as energy, consumer staples, or consumer discretionary, and make regular buy/sell presentations accordingly.

Much of the research WIS students do for their presentations is qualitative, not quantitative. Each student is responsible for researching and reporting out on certain stocks within their sector. It’s about getting to know the company, its potential for growth, the risks, and the rationales.

“People think finance is a bunch of guys crunching numbers all day long but there’s a lot of qualitative work you need to do before you can crunch the numbers,” said Krendov. “You have to ask yourself, ‘Why do customers like this company?'”