Eller Finance ’11
By Liz Warren-Pederson
“From the outset, I have always dreamed of working in the investment community on Wall Street,” said Brian Rapoport, who will graduate in December. He came to Eller from Phoenix with a full-ride scholarship to the UA and a driving passion for finance.
“Starting at the age of twelve, I was discussing stocks at the middle school lunch table,” he said. His father, CFO of the Arizona State Retirement System, encouraged his son’s interest in learning about the market.
“My passion for investments led me to spend more than eight hours a week for the past ten years researching various investments,” Rapoport said. “I developed my own proprietary equity valuation model to aid in this process. In turn, I began to manage my own portfolio, which has consistently doubled the performance of the S&P 500 Index. In fact, I realized a 690 percent return on a single investment in under two years.”
Eller finance alum Joe Peccolo and Matt Boltz helped Rapoport get an internship with Edward Jones in Tempe last summer. “In that capacity, I built the traders a computer model that analyzes 65,000 bond trades across over 25 unique variables in under one minute, allowing the trading desk to track pricing trends and client statement pricing,” he said. “On the equity desk, I performed daily best execution analysis to ensure that our clients received the best possible price and execution quality on each trade, saving over $4,400.”
His success led to an internship offer from the firm’s risk management department in St. Louis, where he worked this summer in product review. In that role, he developed a quantitative metric system to help analysts better assess the effective credit exposure for insurance products, such as a term life policy or variable annuity. “I also analyzed over 600 mutual funds for client suitability, and created a multi-layered, password-protected database of that information,” he said.
The head of the product review division was impressed. “I received and accepted my dream job offer last week at the end of my summer internship,” Rapoport said. When he begins in January, he will be one of the youngest individuals in his division.
Rapoport is slated to graduate summa cum laude and valedictorian, and scored the second highest score worldwide on the Bloomberg Assessment Test, competing with other undergraduates from top b-schools around the country. He’s currently studying to take the CFA exam in December, and credits Kathy Kahle as the most influential professor he has worked with during his Eller experience. “Her breadth of knowledge in finance, coupled with her interactive teaching style, proved instrumental in my educational development,” he said. “She is interested in valuation modeling, and I was able to discuss valuation with her and learn valuable techniques.”
In addition to his academic achievements, Rapoport has been active in student organizations, including the Eller Leadership and Integrity Training for Excellence (E.L.I.T.E.) Program, the Financial Management Association, and his church’s college ministry program.