Chris Matthaei ’01 honored by President Janet Morgan Riggs ’77.
Preparation, commitment, grit—these ideals have helped to establish Chris Matthaei ’01 as a formidable player in the world of finance. But it’s his desire to give back—to enhance the lives of others, like his mentors before him—that truly distinguishes Matthaei as a Gettysburgian.
Since his graduation in 2001, Matthaei has given generously to Gettysburg College and its students, including gifts in support of the Plank renovation project, donations of rare maps and art to Special Collections, and most recently, by supplying the College’s Economics Department with the innovative Bloomberg Terminal.
The Bloomberg Terminal is a computer system that provides investors—and now Gettysburg students—critical financial data in real-time.
“To me, an investor without a Bloomberg Terminal is like an astronomer without a telescope,” said Matthaei, who serves as partner of event driven and merger arbitrage strategy at Elevation Securities. “My motivation in making this gift is to help Gettysburg students learn the fundamentals of the Bloomberg Terminal before they enter the workforce.”
Matthaei and the Bloomberg Terminal.
Given that the terminal is the industry’s go-to software for communication, trading, and portfolio optimization, Matthaei believes that acquiring these skills early in a student’s college experience is essential. Economics Prof. Jamie O’Brien agrees.
“It is amazing to now have such a wealth of data at our fingertips,” said O’Brien. “The Bloomberg Terminal is an incredible resource for empirical economics and we are extremely lucky to have it.”
Recently, mathematical economics major and Leadership Certificate participant Jacob Meehan ’19 used data from the terminal to examine how the volatility of blue-chip stocks fluctuated around the release of their quarterly earnings reports.
“It was incredible to use the same software used by professionals to conduct my own analysis for an econometrics paper. It was certainly a ‘welcome to the big leagues’ type of feeling,” said Meehan, who landed an internship at Omni Cable this summer through the College’s Center for Career Development. “The amount of knowledge that is available to you through the terminal is shocking. I’m definitely eager to explore more of what it has to offer.”
“This type of learning is invaluable for our students,” added O’Brien. “To leave Gettysburg with the knowledge and experience of using real-world data tools like the Bloomberg Terminal, it just makes our graduates even more appealing to future employers.”
Today, Matthaei is committed to providing Gettysburg students with the tools needed to succeed. After all, that’s exactly what two of his most valued mentors did for him.
The first was his father, William—a traveling salesman and successful entrepreneur, who built a global manufacturing and distribution company. His network of global clients was fostered by a devoted work ethic and a handshake that always meant something. The second was recently retired Bullets Head Football Coach Barry Streeter.
“I attended Gettysburg because of Coach Streeter. He really impressed me with the way he structured his football program, required discipline from his team, and stressed the importance of character and integrity in his players,” Matthaei reflected. “I always looked up to him. He was a father figure to me.”
As an undersized offensive lineman, Matthaei didn’t have the strength to outmuscle his opponents on the field. But at Gettysburg College, he discovered that any barrier could be overcome. With the encouragement of Streeter, he perfected his footwork and hand placement to gain leverage on larger opponents—and he learned to compete with an edge unmatched by his rivals.
And Matthaei has never lost that edge.
Over the course of his career, he worked for Goldman Sachs; Caxton Associates; GFI Group; and MKM Longboat Capital Advisors LLP in London, where he helped manage and trade a $3 billion hedge fund focused on merger arbitrage.
Matthaei also navigated the financial crisis, reinventing himself along the way.
“When our fund went out of business, I was certainly in a position of weakness,” Matthaei said. “But as Coach Streeter used to say, ‘Persistence builds character, character builds hope, and hope never fails.’ I picked myself up and decided to pursue a niche in the market.”
That’s when Matthaei co-founded the Event Driven and Special Situations Team at Elevation Securities. Today, he gives fully of himself to the company, which operates 24 hours a day in Europe, Asia, and North America.
“I always tell students that if they want to succeed in today’s world, they need to put the responsibility on their own shoulders,” Matthaei said. “If you’re serious about competing against the talent in Asia, and developing regions, you need to put in the work, take the initiative, and always be hungry to learn.”
Learn more about Economics at Gettysburg College.Posted: Wed, 6 Jun 2018