years in finance, Ben Salm
'84 could see the framework holding up our economy growing shakier with one risky deal built on top of the next.
"For some of us, the last fifteen or twenty years was kind of a mirage," says Salm, who founded his own investment consulting firm after working in the industry.
"At the end of the day, it wasn't real to me."
So much for Wall Street.
relocated to a different street-East 13th-as managing director of the new Securities Analysis Center (SAC) at the University of Oregon's Lundquist College of Business
did so at just the time when the financial structure was toppling last year, leaving rubble strewn across the world's economies.
"We have been as consumers, and businesses, and in some cases as governments, borrowing too much.
Basically, we've been living-all of us, collectively-beyond our means.
And now that debt is coming due," Salm
"In general, it's been a bull market for M.B.A.s for twenty years," says Salm, who earned bachelor's degrees in business and computer science at the UO and an M.B.A. in applied economics and finance at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
In light of this, why does Salm start sounding as if the current economic storm just may have a silver-or even a golden-lining?
Today's economic woes actually offer a rare bonus to students.
"Right now, we've got what I call the world's greatest learning laboratory," Salm
"We're all students right now, because this really is unprecedented.
adds that with the greater scrutiny currently being focused on Wall Street, we have an unparalleled chance to clean up the system.
"That's the best news of all," Salm
"But it won't be easy.
business students will be among those who help restore sanity to the nation's-and world's-financial systems.
"We're in the early days of fundamental changes.
It has taken us many years to get into this place, and it won't change overnight," Salm
is confident UO graduates are better prepared than most to land jobs.
combines the academic and research elements of many M.B.A. programs with exceptionally strong partnerships and practical experience with private finance and accounting firms from Portland to the East Coast, he
Ironically, the timing couldn't be better.
"There's never been greater need for people who are soundly trained in what the art and science of finance is all about.
You can't get very far in the business world without it," Salm
Everybody's got a black eye," Salm
Yet, students who chose finance for the right reasons still are applying to the program and will have jobs awaiting them, he
believes a new generation of finance and accounting professionals is being trained at the SAC-graduates with the academic credentials to soar high but also grounded in reality by the harsher lessons from the real world.
By early spring, the recession had put the stock market on sale for half price and knocked perhaps a third off the cost of a house in some markets.
The words dismal and glum often get tossed around in writings about this period, the worst economic catastrophe since the Great Depression.
recognizes the challenges, but is also quick to assess the opportunities presented in such an environment: it's a terrible time for those who've suffered losses, but "good news if you're a buyer."
Sound like old-school economics?
"The recipe, I think, is the same.
You work, you save, and you try to keep your wits about you," Salm