Luke Persichetti was born and raised in Pennsylvania. He recently relocated to Manhattan to pursue a career in finance. Luke is a 2018 graduate of Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. Luke earned his bachelor’s degree in economics from Yale. He gained insight into the world of finance when he spent a year working on Wall Street during a hiatus from Yale.
During his time on Wall Street, he learned about financial markets from the inside. He developed a keen interest in understanding and writing about current events, macroeconomics, and geopolitics.
Luke is an avid reader. He elects to spend most of his free time immersed in a diverse group of genres, topics, and resources. While at Yale, he also participated in track and field as a shot putter. He volunteered as a coach for a local track and field team.
What major did you focus on during school? What led you to choose it?
I majored in Economics while I studied at Yale. I took an economics course in high school and found it to be the most challenging course that I ever had. I have always wanted to go into the financial industry and the course inspired me to dig even deeper into markets that would be essential to a job in that field. I enjoy drawing connections between economics and other subjects.
What challenges face the finance industry from within today?
I believe that technology has evolved over the years and is going to take over many jobs within the financial industry. Markets have also become more efficient over time and there are fewer opportunities to make money in the more traditional places, so innovation will need to propel the industry forward. For example, artificial intelligence is automating out many jobs in fixed-income trading right now and will continue to do so over the next few years.
The Trump administration as well as the global geopolitical landscape also pose some new challenges to markets. We have never before had a president liable to shift market narratives with a single tweet. This has and will continue to lead to uncertainty and even observable volatility at times. Trade wars and tendencies toward American isolationism are also a major sources of uncertainty.
What do you see in the market that excites you in the financial industry today?
I am excited by the positive side of the automation discussion. Technology is moving us forward, empowering investors, and making more individuals and firms more likely to deploy capital. Despite the obvious concerns for individual privacy, it is nevertheless striking to consider the sheer amount of data big-tech companies are capable of collecting and analyzing. I am looking out for them to become more involved in the financial services industry sometime in the future, particularly in the form of algorithmic trading. Another thing I have noticed is how many young professionals in finance are now choosing start-ups over the traditional hedge funds and private equity firms. Investment banking programs are beginning to feed into small tech firms and all kinds of more entrepreneurial environments, which I find pretty exciting.
How do you challenge yourself to improve daily?
I challenge myself to improve every day by staying disciplined. I believe that discipline is contagious and carries over between different areas of life. I like to ensure that I read a certain number of news articles each day and a certain number of books each month. I think focusing on discipline in this area leads me to develop it in others, such as physical fitness. Becoming more disciplined and structured in your routine gives you a solid base on which you can improve daily.
What podcasts or new reports you suggest a person listen to in order to remain updated on the finance industry?
I listen to “Bloomberg Day Break” every day to get financial and political news in five to seven minutes. I also listen to “What’s News” from the Wall Street Journal every day. It gives you a high-level news update, then a specific focus topic for that day. I also listen to a podcast called “Macro Voices” every Thursday. It is the best podcast I have been able to find on financial markets. It begins with twenty minutes of commentary on what the markets have done that week, then has a guest discussing a topic that the host thinks not enough people are talking about. This is my favourite podcast for learning more about lesser-known macroeconomic and financial trends.
What book do you suggest for someone getting interested in finance?
The Big Short is the probably the best book to start with. People should understand what happened during the financial crisis and this book explains it in an interesting way. I would definitely suggest reading more things like this in story format at first rather than getting bogged down in hard arithmetic or textbooks. Another great book is Too Big to Fail by Andrew Ross Sorkin, which gives a comprehensive view of the whole financial crisis. The Greatest Trade Ever is the story of John Paulson, a hedge fund manager who personally earned billions of dollars betting against mortgage bonds right before the financial crisis.
What will you be looking forward to over the next five years?
I look forward to attending graduate school of some kind. I am considering either business school or law school and may even decide to pursue both degrees simultaneously.