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Reiman graduate student applies discipline and teamwork to studies

Samuel Harnisch (BSBA 2020, MS 2021)

Lacrosse brought Samuel Harnisch (BSBA 2020, MS 2021) to the University of Denver. The Daniels College of Business kept him intellectually engaged after ACL injuries ended his career with the men’s lacrosse team.

He enrolled in the Reiman School of Finance’s Master of Science in Applied Quantitative Finance program, which combines the in-depth study of finance theories and principles with advanced technologies, communication and teamwork. Harnisch was able to design his concentration within the program.

“It’s dynamic and flexible, based on your goals,” Harnisch said. “I did independent studies for the CMT® (Chartered Market Technician) and CFA® (Charters Financial Analyst) certifications and took ecourses within the Department of Business Information and Analytics.”

When he was no longer playing lacrosse, he immersed himself in clubs, jobs and piano lessons. Harnisch is a finance club member, a graduate research assistant and a tutor in the Learning Effectiveness Program.

Photo courtesy of DU Athletics

“Tutoring students has been a humbling and rewarding experience. Seeing students who have to overcome obstacles and how hard they work at their studies inspired me to work harder in my own academics,” said Harnisch.

That hard work includes a project he’s undertaking with Miller Chair of Applied Economics and Professor Jack Strauss on forecasting corporate bond returns using machine learning. And he’s doing an internship with Wealthnet Investments under the supervision of Teaching Professor JP Tremblay, who serves as Wealthnet’s chief investment officer.

“I was forced to learn how to manage my time efficiently,” Harnisch said. “I started waking up early and being on top of things since I had so much going on. I got very comfortable being busy.”

Harnisch was one of only 15 students selected for the Marsico Investment Fund course. The two-quarter course allows students to actively manage an investment portfolio, which currently is valued at about $1.8 million. Teams formed around industry sectors and they analyzed their sectors to determine where to invest. Harnisch worked in industrial, energy, communication and financial sectors. For recommendations to be implemented, 75% of the class had to approve.

“There’s all the theory you learn in the classes, and then this is the practical application class where you’re actually managing real money, making decisions and getting to experience what it would be like to be a money manager,” Harnisch said.

His experience with the Marsico Investment Fund and his work toward earning professional finance designations will give him a leg up on other new graduates. The CFA® designation is the gold standard for anyone who will be making investment decisions, and the CMT® applies to technical analysts.

“It’s a tremendous amount of study hours and work,” Tremblay said. “He’s going to walk out of school with a large portion of his CFA® program and the first two exams of the CMT® done. It’s an impressive feat that sets him apart.”

Tremblay recalled that Harnisch came to his weekly meetings prepared to have a discussion and curious to learn the real-world implications of his readings.

“Sam is one of the most impressive students I have worked with. He’s extremely disciplined. In his internship, he’s doing what he has learned in Marsico Investment Fund classes for our firm and for real clients. I give him areas that I’m looking for investment ideas; he does research and brings back ideas.”

Harnisch credits Reiman for providing him with a broad understanding of different ways to approach investments. This summer, he will begin working as a product analyst for Pimco in Newport Beach, California. As of Dec. 31, 2020, Pimco had more than 3,000 employees in offices worldwide and managed $2.21 trillion in assets.