Alumni Connections: A Visit to Paulson and Co.
The invitation was so attractive that students huddled in front of computer terminals waiting for the moment they could start signing up: An afternoon at Paulson & Co., one of the countryís biggest hedge funds, followed by an evening with its founder at a New York steakhouse. Not surprisingly, the fifty available slots were gone in about two minutes.
On a crisp day in October, the students visited the Paulson headquarters where John Paulson, the firmís legendary founder, spent about an hour explaining his theories of investing, and showing the group why, exactly, he decided to short subprime mortgages at a time when conventional wisdom said there was no end to the boom in sight. "Hedge funds donít often let outsiders get a real look at how they operate," says Jessica Hans í11, who worked for Credit Suisse before coming to SOM. "Paulson didnít hold back. He was incredibly open and forthcoming. The access he provided us with was remarkable."
The event was pulled together by the firmís chief operating officer, Putnam Coes í94. Coes talked to Dean Sharon Oster about introducing students to Paulson, and the schoolís Career Development Office took care of the details. Oster says that itís this type of partnership between alumni and the school that makes SOM a unique institution among major business schools. "We have a really loyal collection of SOM alums who are in leadership positions across the spectrum of organizations," Oster says. "And so this is the kind of thing we can offer: small, intimate connections. These are the kind of events that at a large place would be much harder to do."