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Spotlighted Student: John Cummings '14

After spending the majority of his childhood in Lexington, MA, John Cummings ’14 moved to Dillsburg, PA to begin 9th grade and graduate from high school.

 

Haverford College had been on John’s radar because his grandfather attended Haverford as a pre-med student in the 1940’s. John wanted a small institution relatively close to home and after looking at schools in the area, including Swarthmore, he felt most connected to Haverford with its more relaxed atmosphere. The honor code was a strong selling point as well.

 

John will be graduating with a double major in Economics (Haverford) and Mathematics (Bryn Mawr). Because John’s father majored and did graduate work in Economics they had numerous discussions and exchanges about the subject as John was growing up. Economics emerged as a topic that comes naturally to John. He embraces its real world application and how people act and think economically. Two of Professor David Owens’ courses, Behavioral Economics and, Psychological Biases and Economic Decisions, stand out as paramount influences.

 

John’s thesis explores an interesting mix of behavioral economics and finance. He is writing about a historical phenomenon in equity markets called the Post-Earnings Announcement Drift, which is a widely studied observation that stock prices tend to under-react to quarterly earnings results. In his thesis, he will present a novel explanation for how loss aversion on the part of investors is the cause of this unexplained phenomenon.

 

Gaining work experience has been important to John. The summer following his freshman year, John participated in a six week study-abroad program in Panama. Through the School for International Training (SIT) John lived with a local family, took classes on bio-diversity in the tropics, learned about the culture, and deepened his Spanish.

 

Through a Whitehead Internship grant, the summer months after his sophomore year he interned at Copeland Capital Management, a small investment management firm located in Conshohocken, PA that focuses on dividend growth strategies. John researched companies for investment consideration. He was exposed to investment, accounting, and financial data analysis.

 

The following summer he chose a large firm and a large city. He lived and worked in New York City for Credit Suisse, an investment bank, in their equity research department. Similar to the work he did for Copeland Capital, his main focus was on investment research. The report that John wrote was published in October by Credit Suisse and sent out to their clients. The hours were long, he learned a lot, and he was able to connect with Haverford alumni also working at Credit Suisse.

 

At the beginning of his senior year, both Copeland Capital and Credit Suisse offered John full-time employment for after graduation. Although John enjoyed his work at Credit Suisse, he decided to accept the offer with Copeland Capital and will be starting there next fall. John felt that, by working at a boutique firm, he would have more impact and broader responsibilities.

 

John has been a member of the tennis team since his freshman year, where he has earned several ITA scholar athlete awards. Additionally, John is a new member of the varsity squash team and is the head of the badminton club. He has also been on the Committee on Investment and Social Responsibility since his sophomore year. Recently this committee discussed and entertained a proposal from a student group to divest Haverford’s endowment away from fossil fuel companies. After very serious and long deliberations, the committee finally made a recommendation to the board of managers against divestment, mainly due to cost concerns.

 

After a few years of working at Copeland Capital, John is considering enrolling in an MBA program if it fits well with his career path.

Founders Green on a warm spring day.

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