Why I Love Working at MIT’s Investment Management Company

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To this day, I am rather surprised that MIT’s Investment Management Company (MITIMCo) took a chance on me as a 22 year old who knew very little about investing. How wonderful that they did, because it has been an incredible ten years at MITIMCo. Even better, there is no end in sight. I recently took a short personal sabbatical to go trail running in the mountains in New Zealand and now I am back for another ten years until I’m due for my next short break. I expect I will spend my entire career at MITIMCo.

As I said, I knew very little about investing when I started here. I knew only what I had read in a few investment books that got me really interested and excited to learn. I didn’t grow up talking stocks at the dinner table. But what really matters in this business is how fast you learn, not where you start. Over time the former overwhelms the latter. And MITIMCo has been somewhere one can learn incredibly fast.

Our job is to find and work with the very best investment firms in the world. From day one I got to sit in on meetings with highly accomplished investors who were happy to walk through every aspect of what they did in order to attract MIT as a capital partner. In closely observing those meetings and then participating in discussions afterwards with more experienced colleagues, I learned to tease out what separates a very good investor from a great one. I learned to spot the hidden risks that trip up firms that seem to be on the right track. I learned about different ways of investing, which work better in which opportunity sets, and eventually learned the ones that make the most sense to me.

Our team is effectively optimized for learning and impact from day one. The two go hand in hand. You aren’t just sitting in meetings to learn about other people’s investments. You go out and build a network to bring interesting people to our door, and you learn to think for yourself about what you think makes a great investor. It’s not expected, but we generally find that even our most inexperienced new colleagues lead a new investment within 12 to 18 months of joining. I did this as a 23 year old. You learn by doing, and you benefit from guidance from your more experienced colleagues all along the way.

We have no titles. Everyone’s job is the same. In my time at MITIMCo, I have never, ever, been told I was too inexperienced or young to do something (such as lead an investment, present to our board of directors, champion an internal project). That is just not something that happens here. Our team is set up to empower people to take on additional responsibility as soon as they feel ready, not because they finally got a promotion that takes them to the next level. This dramatically shortens the feedback loop of learning.

Our impact is measured in billions of dollars. If you join MITIMCo tomorrow and stay for 25 years (though of course not everyone will) you could create tens of billions of dollars of value for MIT as part of our team, surpassing even MIT’s most generous donors. No one will name a building after you, but that is the impact you can have.

*We are looking to recruit an exceptional new colleague* to our Global Investment Staff in the Global Investor role. We have no experience requirement and are happy to consider anyone from recent or soon-to-be college graduates to more experienced candidates. Regardless of your level of experience, the role offers the opportunity to learn fast, contribute early, and make a big impact on MIT’s mission.

Click here to view our long-form job description. Please note that we are not able to sponsor visas to work in the U.S.

To contact me to ask a question, please ping me on twitter @joelmcohen. My email is jcohen@mitimco.mit.edu but I am unlikely to be able to respond individually to recruiting solicitations and will just encourage you to apply at the link above.

10+ years on the Global Investment Staff at MITIMCo, helping invest MIT’s endowment in exceptional investment firms around the world. Joel_Cohen@mitimco.mit.edu

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