So when he realized that there was no practical, hands-on way for UB students to learn about investing and managing a stock portfolio, he helped create one. Ryan teamed up with three brothers from the Delta Sigma Pi business fraternity and approached Arjang Assad, the dean of the School of Management, with their idea. With the help of Professor Cristian Tiu and SOM development officer John Prizner, the project got off the ground. The SOM team introduced the students to Terese Kelly, a UB alumna and retired librarian, who had independently contacted the school with the idea of funding such a program. Within three months, the Terese E. Kelly Investment Fund, a pilot program run entirely by students, was seeded with a six-figure gift.
“The stars aligned perfectly in this situation,” Ryan said. “I still can’t believe that in August we were talking about this idea, and by December it was literally a tangible thing.”
Ryan preps for a presentation.
The plan is for the fund to remain self-sustaining by reinvesting all of its profits. Ryan and the other founders will manage it until they graduate, then pass it on to future classes. Ryan hopes that the fund will attract additional donors, with future profits earmarked to create a scholarship fund or build a Wall Street-style trading room.
“It’s an educational experience. We want to gain that experience and learn how to invest, how to pick stocks, how to analyze data, make those decisions, and hopefully, not lose money,” said Ryan, the fund’s chief operating officer. “This gives us experience so that when we go out to Citibank or Goldman Sachs, we look like better candidates. But, it also makes UB a better school. It attracts better students. It attracts better professors. And it gives students a better experience, and therefore makes for better alumni down the line.”
While Ryan may credit celestial good fortune, the truth is that he is a meticulous detail-oriented planner who leaves very little to chance, especially when working with numbers. He shares that trait with his father, Richard Lazarus, a 1973 UB alumnus who works as a judicial referee for Queens County Supreme Court. Together, they mapped out a plan for Ryan’s academic career – starting with which school to pick (Ryan applied to 21 different colleges and universities), and moving on to choice of major (he has three undergraduate majors and will graduate with a master’s in economics in just four and half years) and when to take each required course for maximum efficiency.
“When it comes to cost-benefit analysis, UB gives you the best education for the best price,” said Ryan, a Presidential Scholar in the University Honors College. “At the end of the day, while I got into a lot of schools, UB gave me the best bang for my buck, and it gave me the best opportunity to do what I wanted to do. That’s all I can ask for.”
Last updated: May 20, 2013 3:32 am EST