Finance Student Capitalizes on Opportunities at Mason

Tyler Harb
Tyler Harb

College is the time to find yourself. Learn your passions. Explore new opportunities. Some students squander this opportunity, while others absorb as much as they can. For senior finance major, Tyler Harb, he will be leaving Mason with a supercharged resume full of unique experiences.

Harb checks off many boxes from his time at Mason. Successful international student. Check. President of the Investment Committee for the Montano Student Investment Fund. Check. Two finance internships. Check. Published independent research project. Check. And this May he will add graduate of George Mason University School of Business to his list.

The Montano Student Investment Fund (SMIF) is a fund that is managed by a select group of finance students at George Mason University. Mason students conduct research pertaining to portfolios as well as select individual assets to which real money will be allocated. The fund offers students a hands-on approach to market research, equity valuation and risk analysis. Harb joined SMIF in August 2021, later becoming president of the Investment Committee. Harb says his time with SMIF dramatically increased his professional exposure. “From hosting the first-ever George Mason University Stock Pitch Competition with more than $5,000 in cash prizes, to traveling to Chicago to compete with other national student-managed investment funds, the SMIF was able to not only expose me to the world of professional finance and other managerial and leadership skills, but also created some of the best memories I have at Mason.”

While SMIF provided Harb with his first experience researching stock, his internships helped expand that knowledge. Finance Professor Derek Horstmeyer, known for keeping his students well-aware of any internships or full-time opportunities that come across his desk, was the source of the lead. “I remember receiving an email from Professor Horstmeyer with the investment analyst internship at Boundary Street Capital. I immediately and enthusiastically responded.” Harb’s eagerness paid off and he was hired for the position.

Boundary Street Capital is a startup private credit investment fund, and in his internship, Harb was tasked with responsibilities similar to an investment analyst. “I had the opportunity to partake in due diligence for key initial credit investment deals by analyzing and assessing the borrowing entities' products and services, industry, and competition,” says Harb. “I also had the chance to conduct essential portfolio management on previous deals by assessing monthly revenue trends and income statements to ensure they were within their covenants. I truly enjoyed my internship at Boundary Street Capital, got the chance to work with some of the smartest and sharpest individuals that made sure that my experience was constantly engaging.” Following his time at Boundary Street Capital, Harb is began working as an investment banking analyst intern at Height Capital Markets in Washington, D.C.

In addition to his work with SMIF, and his internships, Harb also conducted an independent research study under the guidance of Horstmeyer. Harb analyzed the costs and benefits of target-date funds compared to the costs and gifts related to constructing one's portfolio without having to rely on one. “For this research study, I was tasked with identifying top U.S.-based target-date funds with target dates ranging from 2020 to 2060, understanding their equity-to-bond mix, and assigning a comparable equity and bond index that correlates with the firm responsible for the target date fund.” Harb says he was excited for the opportunity to expand his real-world knowledge of financial topics and get his name out. The research was published in the Wall Street Journal. “It was great working with Tyler,” says Horstmeyer. “He did really diligent data work on this piece. A lot of collection was involved, and he completed a good statistical analysis on his part.”

Tyler says, “Mason dramatically benefited my future career prospects. Mason professors not only place effort in the lecture portion of a course but also towards ensuring that students are equipped and ready for professional financial responsibilities and skills.”

As he approaches graduation, Harb can toss his cap in the air knowing he took away great knowledge from the School of Business. Harb aims to pursue a career in Investment Banking at a corporation or a small to medium-sized firm.