People aspiring to work on Wall Street often try to get into “target schools”—top colleges for investment bank recruiters. Johns Hopkins University isn’t a target school. It doesn’t even offer an undergraduate degree in finance. But the Baltimore mecca for medicine, Bloomberg Markets reports in its May issue, has what could be called a target course: Applied Economics and Finance, taught by professor Steve Hanke.
His protégés have gone on to work at such institutions as Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, and hedge fund firm Third Point. In fact, Hanke—who selects just 12 students every semester—says he places 100 percent of each class in finance jobs.
“I look for his name when I’m going through résumés,” says Brian Dietze, a senior investment banker at Stifel, Nicolaus & Co. in Baltimore. “His students come in better prepared than their counterparts.”
In particular, Hanke’s disciples know how to evaluate companies and tell investors whether they should buy or sell their stocks. Each student assesses one company every two weeks, starting with raw figures from regulatory filings. From there, they build a discounted cash flow model according to a proprietary system Hanke helped develop.
“Most of the people going through our course are better than MBAs,” says Hanke, 72, an Iowa native who joined Johns Hopkins’s faculty in 1969. (Michael Bloomberg, the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg News parent Bloomberg LP and an alumnus of the university, has donated more than $1 billion to Johns Hopkins.) Through the years, Hanke has also advised President Ronald Reagan, consulted for hedge funds, and, most famously, designed currency-stabilizing systems for countries with money woes, such as Argentina and Bulgaria.
“I wouldn’t consider Professor Hanke’s class a course,” says Seth Weisberg, a junior who’s studying applied math and economics. “It’s more like a job.” Weisberg will learn how true that is this summer, when he begins a 10-week gig at Jefferies Group—making him one more of Hanke’s protégés storming Wall Street.
This story appears in the May 2015 issue of Bloomberg Markets.