The independent news organization of Duke University

Duke grad pens book on business

Alan Schwartz, David Rubenstein and Stephen Pagliuca are just some of the financial titans with Duke ties whose insights appear in a new book by recent Duke graduate David Snider.

“Money Makers—Inside the New World of Business and Finance,” set to hit stands today, is co-authored by Snider, Trinity ’07, and Chris Howard, president of Hampden-Sydney College, a private men’s college in Virginia. The book is intended as a guide for people interested in finance-related fields, as well as those with broader interests, such as law students who might want to understand the business models of their prospective future clients, said Snider, who now works at Bain Capital.

The book includes many interviews with business leaders, in addition to other background information and history.

“I wanted a book [to create] a lay-of-the-land for finance from the perspective of people leading those fields,” said Snider. “I wanted to pull together insights from interesting people.”

In the foreword, Robert Steel, Trinity ’73, and former president and chief executive officer of Wachovia Corporation, points to the fact that in light of recent hardships, it is fair to ask hard questions about what went wrong with the U.S. financial system.

“There is no question that recent events have shaken everyone’s confidence in many parts of our system,” wrote Steel, former chair of the Duke Board of Trustees. “It is very fair to ask hard questions about what went wrong.”

The book has chapters on investment banking, venture capital and entrepreneurship, private equity and leveraged buyouts and hedge funds. Additionally, it details management consulting and the management of Fortune 500 companies. Each chapter contains descriptions of a field and its history, term definitions, interviews with top executives and advice for candidates.

“It gives people a pretty good bluepoint for [understanding] the industries constantly in the news,” he said, adding that its important to get a perspective on the skill sets needed to succeed in different financial industries. Students too often get excited about popular financial fields of the moment, not necessarily areas where they might succeed, Snider said.

As a sophomore at Duke, Snider searched for a book with information to better understand the business world to find a summer internship. After a fruitless search, Snider, a public policy studies major, became interested in writing his own book. He said he thought value could be added for fellow college students if there was a comprehensive book detailing the field.

The idea translated into a research project during the Spring of his senior year. Snider said he was lucky that Joel Fleishman, professor of law and public policy, connected him with many prominent business leaders.

Additionally, Snider called Howard, who has been a mentor for Snider since he was in high school. Howard, who is a Rhodes Scholar and holds a masters of business administration with distinction from Harvard Business School, immediately saw the need for the book as well, said Snider. He offered to jump on-board the project as a co-author, Snider said, adding that he was invaluable in making connections, acting as a sounding board and helping with marketing.

The Duke connections in the book are numerous. Interviewees include alumni such as Stephen Pagliuca, Trinity ’77, managing director of Bain Capital and co-owner of the Boston Celtics, Peter Nicholas, Trinity ’64 and chair and co-founder of Boston Scientific, Rick Wagoner, Trinity ’75, former chief executive officer of General Motors and vice chair of the Board of Trustees, and Alan Schwartz, Trinity ’72, executive chair of Guggenheim Partners and former chief executive officer of Bear Stearns.

Snider said his Duke connections—like the one with Fleishman—helped him greatly in his research. Chance encounters benefitted him as well—he met David Rubenstein, Trinity ’70, member of the Board of Trustees, cofounder of the Carlyle Group and namesake of Rubenstein Hall, at a Duke Student Government luncheon with the Board.

“Duke connections, parents of my friends and [people I met through] Duke activities helped me gain a critical mass of Duke people, at least at the outset,” Snider said, adding that he did a lot of continuing research. “I worked hard to make sure it was more broad-based.”

Snider said that although he wrote the book to help other people understand the financial system, he learned a lot himself in the process.

“It was a valuable tool in my search,” he said. “My interest in getting into private equity was shaped by the interviews and perspectives I got in the research for the book.”


Share and discuss “Duke grad pens book on business” on social media.