Dr. Jim Liew is an Assistant Professor at the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School, where he teaches a range of courses in finance, specializing in hedge funds, wealth management, and fixed income. Dr. Liew completed his undergraduate work at the University of Chicago, earning his B.A. in Mathematics. He then moved on to complete his M.Phil and Ph.D. in Finance and Economics at Columbia Business School. He has worked as a quantitative strategist for Morgan Stanley, Vice-President of the Carlyle Asset Management Group, a principal investment officer for the World Bank, and is currently CEO of JKL Capital Management, LLC.
1. What are the top considerations a recent graduate should keep in mind when making key financial decisions?
Financial decisions should be made in a thoughtful manner; never make a major financial decision under duress. Sometimes it’s helpful to have a group of trustworthy friends to bounce investment ideas. Putting aside money for a rainy day is always a good first step. Then allocating a fixed amount such as 10% towards for retirement is a reasonable approach. Starting early and being consistent is the key. Also, try to stay away from high fees investment products as fees will quickly eat up all your returns. If you’re starting your career you should have a healthy allocation to stocks. But don’t forget the golden rule: Never invest in something you don’t know. Spend time to do your own research on stocks and if you’re too busy, then buy the “market” via an ETF. With that said, I’d also advise that you allocate some amount to your money to your trusted friend’s startup, but only bet small here since chances are high that this investment won’t be that winning lottery ticket. Finally, and probably the most important financial advice is to continue to invest in your own human capital by continuing your journey of learning and to nurture and expand your network of mentors!
2. What do you enjoy the most about teaching?
Some of the things that I enjoy about teaching include the interaction with bright and thoughtful students. Inspiring students to think out of the box and really push their ideas to the edge of finance is one of the most rewarding aspects of teaching and research. While I cannot mentor all of the hundreds of students that I teach each year, I do try to mentor a handful.
3. Did you have any key mentors in your life? If so, what impact did they have on your professional and personal/character development?
One of my key mentors has been Jerry Baesel who ran Morgan Stanley’s investments into hedge funds. Lot of the way that I mentor now can be attributed to the interactions that I have had and continue to have with him. When Jerry talks to me, I must listen. His counsel is pearls of wisdom to my thirsty ears.