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April 9, 2010

Uncommon Interview with Greg Nance

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Third-year and undergraduate liaison to the Board of Trustees Greg Nance is running for Student Government (SG) president this year, but his work at SG isn’t the only thing that defines him. Nance has worked at Merrill and Morgan, started a program called Money Think that teaches Chicago Public School students financial literacy, and won a Truman scholarship last week—a $30,000 award “for juniors with exceptional leadership potential.” The Maroon sat down with Nance to talk about his work, playing chess in his spare time, and running for office against his frat brothers.

Chicago Maroon: You have interned and shadowed at Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley. You’re a Political Science major and these look like the kind of positions that Econ majors fight to the death over. How did you get those positions?

Greg Nance: My father was a Finance major for part of his time during undergrad and he has been investing for his three children’s college funds. When I was 14, he began showing me the tricks of the trade and we spent a lot of time investing my college savings. It was a real passion in high school. I was pretty geeky with all my finance and stock books. It came time for recruiting during my first year, and I basically got very lucky to land a shadowing opportunity with Morgan Stanley and a full time internship with Merrill Lynch.

CM: How did Money Think get started?

GN: I was elected as the External Relations Director of [Financial RSO] Blue Chips in April of 2008, and usually the job of the External Relations Director is to bring top national firms to campus to do recruiting with members, but at this particular time, the market was going belly-up and no firms were trying to hire college kids, and they weren’t interested in coming to campus and speaking with Blue Chips members. So I shifted gears. I decided it would be great if Blue Chips members had an easy way of doing community service, doing something that we knew something about. We consulted more and more educators, and talked to principals about what kind of program they would like.

CM: So how did you move from knowing about finance and investment to knowing how to teach them?

GN: It was definitely a lot of trial and error. As we taught our lessons, we refined them. This point didn’t go over well, but when we talked about LeBron James and what he spends his money on, the kids loved it. Or when we talked about Lil Wayne and his marketing, the students became very interested in marketing. Gradually, we created a curriculum that really appealed to the students and was also fun for us to teach.

CM: You’re a DU brother and DU’s Moose Party is the only other slate running this year. What’s it like having your brothers as your competitors?

GN: In a way it’s unfortunate for the democratic process, just in that we would like for more slates to turn out, have one or two competitors because I think that really helps shape the debate, that keeps us on our toes. At the same time, the Moose Party is composed of three of my best friends who are going to have a lot fun making fun of me up there, so I’m looking forward to that part of it.

CM: You seem like a pretty busy guy. What do you do in your free time?

GN: I really like playing chess, whether it’s going to Ray School down the road to mentor or playing online. I also love hanging out with my brothers at DU. We have a fantastic time hanging around, shooting the breeze.