Michael Karsch, A90, F91
It's hard to believe that Michael Karsch could ever have lacked direction. He first invested in the stock market when he was 14 years old. As a member of the class of 1990 at Tufts, he earned his bachelor's degree in political science in just three years. Next, he completed a Master's in Law and Diplomacy at the Fletcher School, earned an M.B.A. from Harvard, and eventually became a managing director for the Soros Fund. Now the 40-year-old financial expert operates Karsch Capital Management, a New York hedge fund that manages assets worth about $3.5 billion. Yet Karsch insists that he had no idea until late in his college career how to begin approaching Wall Street. "In the financial community," he explains, "Tufts still suffers from the fact that most firms on Wall Street recruit from only a dozen schools. Despite their reputation for excellence, students from Tufts who might want to go into finance are not being given the opportunity to do so."
Feeling fortunate that a fellow Tufts student who had landed a Wall Street job showed him the way, Karsch wants to help others. That's why he has decided to volunteer his time for the university. Each year, he visits campus to give a talk to students in the class about leadership led by Robert J. Sternberg, dean of the School of Arts and Sciences. He holds Tufts events in his home, such as the dinner he hosted last year to introduce New York City alumni to President Bacow. He also works to point Tufts students inclined toward finance in the right direction and to strengthen the Tufts community by fostering connections among its members. For this reason, he recently joined the advisory board of the Tufts Financial Network, an affinity group that brings together Tufts students, alumni, and faculty with this shared interest. 'Having role models has been crucial for me throughout my life,' Karsch says. "To the extent that I can, I want to be a role model now." In fact, Karsch is doing much more than that. Determined to help make it possible for deserving individuals to attend Tufts even if they lack the means, he is in the process of establishing a scholarship. "I'm proud that Tufts' endowment has been exceptionally strong, but even more so that so many high-quality students apply to and enroll in the university," Karsch says. "This is something I want to be a part of."