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Jalen Holeman (McIntire ’26) Is Transforming a Childhood Passion for Investing into Career Success

The incoming McIntire student's early passion for investing, public speaking, basketball coaching, and mentorship form the foundation of his unique path towards a career in investment banking.

Jalen HolemanBy Emily Lauletta

Jalen Holeman’s accomplishments in investing are remarkable, especially when you consider he’s only 19 years old. Holeman, one of the McIntire School of Commerce‘s newest undergraduate students, hails from Philadelphia, PA, but calls Woodbridge, VA, home. “I’m still an Eagles fan though,” he says enthusiastically.

Given his long-time residency in Virginia, Holeman always had his sights set on UVA for his undergraduate education. Considering his interests in finance and stocks, “UVA is the place to be at,” he affirms.

Getting an Early Start

One of the many things that’s so unique about Holeman’s story is his early start investing in stocks. Holeman credits his grandparents for introducing him to the stock market at age 11—and even helping him set up his very first custodial account—when he was just 12 years old.

So, what does a 12-year-old invest in, you might be asking? Holeman’s first three stock picks were Under Armour, his favorite clothing brand at the time, Apple, and General Motors, reflecting his admiration for his father’s truck. Though these choices may seem typical for a young investor, Holeman emphasizes investing in companies that strike a chord. He’s been driving this point home since eighth grade, delivering speeches on financial literacy and the ins and outs of investing at a young age, encouraging audiences to “invest in things you like” and in companies they care about and want to see succeed.

Making an Impact

Demonstrating his natural talent for public speaking, Holeman has become a sought-after speaker in his community, discussing the benefits of investing in stocks and bonds. For his first-ever public-speaking engagement on the subject, he was asked to give a 15-minute speech to an audience of 100 people. Since then, Holeman has grown and perfected his approach to these events; notably, he completed two speaking engagements just last semester, one for his fraternity, Alpha Phi, and one for Jack and Jill of America, a children’s rights advocacy group.

Despite being a formidable force in finance at such a young age, Holeman ensures he carves out time for activities that bring him joy outside of the demands of UVA’s rigorous and competitive academic environment. Among his favorite pastimes are hanging out with his close friends and roommates, all of whom he met on the same day at a first-year UVA pep rally, and cooking, a passion he has cultivated. “It’s been a great way to express my creativity, even if I have to make dishes at 12:30 or 1 a.m.,” Holeman remarks about his culinary pursuits.

Basketball also holds a special place in Holeman’s heart, as both a player and a coach. A fan of the sport since childhood, he played through his high school years. “In eighth grade, I thought I wanted to go pro,” the UVA second-year recalls. Reflecting on some of his favorite coaches—and on a coach or two he didn’t see eye-to-eye with—Holeman ultimately decided to try coaching himself, drawing on his extensive knowledge of the sport and leadership skills through his engagement with his community on the topic of investing.

Throughout his later high school years, Holeman coached fifth and eighth grades, including teams through the Boys & Girls Club in his community. Holeman found great joy in guiding his teams and uplifting their love of basketball. “I felt like I made a good impact on those kids; it was really rewarding.” Holeman says.

Holeman is now deeply engaged with several activities and organizations on Grounds. As a member of the Iota Beta chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha, he serves as the organization’s Finance Chair. Additionally, Holeman dedicates his time serving as a peer mentor for UVA’s Office of African American Affairs first-year program, providing guidance to students, particularly those from marginalized backgrounds, as they begin to navigate their academic careers at UVA. He’s is also an active member of BlackFin Investment Group, a student-run long/short equity fund at the University of Virginia that serves minorities who are underrepresented in financial services.

This fall, Holeman eagerly anticipates participating in McIntire’s Integrated Core curriculum. “I’m looking forward to surrounding myself with like-minded people, especially in our love for business,” he says, sharing his excitement for a new challenge at UVA.

Traveling is on Holeman’s radar as well; he especially looks forward to the study-abroad opportunities offered at the Commerce School. While the prospect of studying internationally is exciting for Holeman, the UVA second-year is already well-traveled, having visited multiple continents and countries, including Germany, Monaco, and even Russia, where he visited St. Petersburg and Catherine Estate, the home of a former Russian Czar.

So what’s next for the future Finance major? For starters, Holeman is already mapping out his career after McIntire. He’s currently eyeing the highly competitive field of investment banking, and sees himself in private equity down the line.

What he is searching for most from his future career is something that is “not routine.” Holeman seeks a path that is exciting, challenging, and out-of-the-ordinary. In other words, he sees himself in a career that reflects many of the skills and experiences he’s acquired thus far.

Holeman’s journey exemplifies the extraordinary potential and drive of today’s youth. At just 19 years old, he has already made significant strides in the world of finance, leveraging his passion for investing since the tender age of 11. What sets him apart is not just his early start in the financial world, but also his commitment to sharing his knowledge and insights with others and enriching his community through his many passions, from bonds to basketball.

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