From the Soccer Field to ‘the Fool’: Q&A with Jake Keator

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From the Soccer Field to ‘the Fool’: Q&A with Jake Keator

Davidson economics major and men’s soccer team member Jake Keator discusses a game-changing summer and his expectations for the 2013-14 academic year.

Tell us about your summer experience.

JK: It was an unbelievable summer. I lived in Washington D.C. and worked at The Motley Fool, an incredible company that does everything from investing education to financial media. I did everything I could to get ready for the fall season—balancing training with work was a fun challenge.

How did you manage to train while working and living in D.C.?

JK: My first priority was to get back to full fitness after a groin injury at the end of the spring. Since then, I did everything possible to be ready for the fall. I put in lots of long runs in the city and I got some strange looks from tourists when I ran shuttles in front of the Lincoln Memorial. I also lifted in the office gym and tried to play as much as possible. I played indoor soccer with guys from the office on Friday mornings and it was been an absolute blast. I also played a few men’s league games with a co-worker and I tried to jump into pick-up games when I could find them. Another co-worker ran ultra-marathons (100+ miles) and I was able to join him for some training days. We did sprints on the steps to the Masonic temple in Alexandria and ran intervals on a nearby track. He left me in the dust but it was still a ton of fun. All in all, it was a really energizing summer.

Did your interest in summer internships/experiences factor into your decision to choose Davidson?

JK: I knew that Davidson had an excellent career development office so that was definitely a factor. But for me the most important thing was the education I would receive and the challenges I would face as a student-athlete that would prepare me for whatever I chose in life. The summer proved to me that I made the right choice.

How did you obtain your summer internship, what has been your role and how will it impact your ideas post-Davidson?

JK: My father has been a follower of The Motley Fool since the early days of AOL, and I grew up waiting for the investment newsletters to come in the mail. In high school, I read the “Motley Fool Investment Guide for Teens” and it changed the way I thought about how I would live the rest of my life. When I saw they had an internship, I knew it was where I had to be, and there hasn’t been a day here that I haven’t thought to myself how lucky I was to be working at the Fool, because they had a profound influence on me growing up.

I published articles (including one that made the headline of Fool.com and another that cracked the Yahoo! main page), wrote research reports, updated company reports, and learned everything I could about investing. The Economics major at Davidson was the ultimate training ground because writing and independent thought are central to the curriculum. Post-Davidson, I would love to return to the Fool, but if that doesn’t work out I would like to pursue consulting or another career in investments. The summer convinced me that positions like consulting or investing are ideal for liberal arts students just out of college because you gain exposure to different business models and use your critical thinking skills to identify fundamentals across industries.

Describe your experience living in Washington D.C.

JK: Living in D.C. was a fantastic experience. I lived on my own in a George Washington University dorm, just a few blocks from the White House and the National Mall. It’s an amazing feeling to run through the city in the evenings and think about all the history there. It was also nice to visit my teammate and roommate (four years running) Coleman O’Neill at his house in Silver Spring.

Independent living was a rewarding challenge. At Davidson, it’s easy to take for granted the amazing things provided for us 24/7, from food services to laundry. Balancing summer training with a full work schedule, day-to-day errands, and early wake-ups helped me develop a “real-world” mindset.

As a senior student, what are your hopes for your final campaign?

JK: Two words: SoCon Championship. Aside from that, your senior year is about the legacy you leave with your teammates still in the program. Whether I’m starting or coming off the bench, I don’t want to be remembered for the roles I played but rather how I played them, and I mean that in a character sense, both on and off the field.

We’ve worked hard to develop a culture of extra-commitment over the last four years and whether that means coming early or staying late (ideally both), I want to be remembered most for my dedication in that regard and do my part to make sure the culture continues.

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Mark Brumbaugh

Mark Brumbaugh is assistant sports information director at Davidson College.

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