Fourth-year Lucy Krasker takes UVA’s Honor System very seriously.
As such, the Commerce School’s representative on the Honor Committee, who also serves as Vice Chair for Community Relations, is officially responsible for outreach and managing the group’s annual co-sponsorship budget.
After speaking with Krasker, it becomes clear that there’s more to her dedication than carrying out the duties assigned to the role.
“I feel my job as a committee member is to create opportunities for McIntire students to better understand why the Honor System is important in business and our careers after graduation,” she says. “Being an honorable businessperson goes beyond not lying, cheating, or stealing—it’s about how your business strategy is positively changing the community.”
Krasker is determined to encourage McIntire students to consider how honor extends into their future roles as decision makers and business leaders, and she’s using the idea of the Honorable Stock Pitch Competition as way to reinforce those ideals.
“Whether it’s as an honorable leader or compelling environmental, social, and governance (ESG) strategy or a sustainable production process, companies have different applications of honorable practices,” she explains.
The competition, planned for March 27 in Room 116 of Rouss & Robertson Halls and open to the public, tasks four- to six-person undergraduate and graduate McIntire student teams with defining honor in the context of their proposed business, in addition to pitching the investment case over a five-year horizon.
McIntire Professors Lucien L. Bass III, Cynthia Fraser, and Mark White are slated to serve as judges for the event, each bringing relevant connections to the spirit driving the competition. White, who teaches McIntire’s “Investing in a Sustainable Future,” among other related courses, has a long history working with the University’s sustainability efforts. Bass, who served on the Honor Committee as a representative from the School of Engineering as an undergraduate at UVA, has “remained a gallant supporter of the system through outreach events and contributing institutional knowledge,” Krasker notes.
Keeping with the message behind the event, first-, second-, and third-place teams will earn prizes of $300, $150, and $50, respectively, for their affiliated organizations; prizes can also be donated to the organization of their choice.
McIntire Inspired, McIntire Made
Krasker, a Finance and Marketing concentrator who is completing McIntire’s Business Analytics Track, says that her “Intermediate Investments” course in the fall 2019 semester motivated her to do more research about sustainable investments. The course, taught jointly by Professors David Chapman and Mike Gallmeyer, began each class with a finance news article that related to the theory, measurement, or statistic relevant to that day’s session.
“Our discussions of ESG investing strategies and learning about new financial products, such as ESG ETFs [exchange-traded funds] were some of the most memorable and inspired me to do more research,” she says.
What she found was a surprising number of firms entering the sustainable space, and she took note of the market demand for sustainable investments. Motivated by her keen interest, Krasker is continuing her studies with Gallmeyer in his new Finance capstone, “Asset Management in the Global Economy,” and says that his work organizing the Sands Capital Professional Speaker Series has given her the opportunity to learn from guest lectures on topics such as emerging market growth equity investments.
She’s similarly excited about her “Global Impact Investing” seminar with Professor Max Gottschalk (McIntire ‘95), in which she and her fellow students are learning from his fund manager experiences dealing with the challenges and opportunities of simultaneously considering financial return and impact.
As further evidence of what McIntire has imparted through its inimitable business education experiences, Krasker notes her recent trek to UVA’s first J-term in Kenya for “Conservation Finance,” led by White.
“I saw firsthand how private nature conservancies leverage a low-impact, high-return tourism model to prioritize conservation initiatives,” she says. “In the past two years, I thought I enrolled in one of the country’s best pure business programs. Instead, I’m graduating with so much more. I’m armed with innovative knowledge about business strategy and how it can save the planet.”
A Legacy of Change Agents
Her expectations for the upcoming competition’s presentations are high—no doubt the result of many finance role models who have applied their Comm School background to impressive results.
“When you look at McIntire’s track record for impact in entrepreneurship, it’s easy to be inspired by alumni like Lazetta Rainey Braxton [McIntire ’95] of Financial Fountains and Crawford Hawkins [McIntire ‘06] of Grupo Crawford, to name a few of many,” she says. “The students presenting later this spring are the students I expect to become sustainable, effective, and open-minded leaders of the future.”
In the short term, Krasker hopes the Honorable Stock Pitch Competition fosters a larger discussion about the rich potential for sustainable business in years to come.
“We’re on a trajectory where returns alone will not keep a company in business,” she says. “Rather, management teams are challenged to consider and adjust for their impact, such as reducing their carbon footprint, and the ethical implications of their production practices. I’m excited for participating students to start asking more about the companies they work for or buy products from.”
Looking further out into the future, she remains positive that the values learned at the University create a community built on long-lasting trust.
“I hope students realize the value of going to a school with such a strong moral compass through the Honor Code. We learn a lot of material in the classroom that’s directly relevant to the work we do, but it’s the values we learn at this University, to uphold a community of trust, that I think are the most long-lasting.”
Krasker believes these are the very values that serve as the foundation for business models promoting social justice and environmental impact. But before she returns to Guggenheim Securities in New York City, where she interned last summer, to begin a career as an Equity Research Associate, she’ll be behind a competition that once again instills those important values of honor in business here on Grounds.