Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Getting My Act Together and Taking It on the Road

Over the past two months I’ve been in the active phase of teaching my course on investor relations at the Jones Graduate School of Management at Rice University.  It’s something I really enjoy - combining academic pursuits with the realities of Wall Street and how companies interact with investors.  With the term over for the year, I’ve had a chance to step back and reflect upon the state of education for practitioners of investor relations in the real world. The conclusion I come to is that the profession has a scattershot approach to teaching the fundamentals of IR.  The seminars, conferences and courses that I have seen on the subject are, in my opinion, too expensive, both in cost and participants’ time.  Further, they are usually taught either by volunteer practitioners on an ad hoc basis, or in rare cases, by business school academics with very little experience in the real world.  The result is a very uneven learning experience.

One of the great things about capitalism is that if there is a market that is underserved, a product or service will arise to fill the need.  In this case, I propose to fill the gap in the investor relations education market by offering seminars for the profession.  Over the course of a thirty-year career, I have been involved in investor relations as a lawyer, a corporate practitioner, an officer of a buy side firm and an educator.   As a result I believe that I bring a unique blend of practical experience, knowledge and teaching experience to the field.  The seminars I plan to offer will build upon the lectures and textbook I developed for my investor relations class but will be very practical rather than academic in their content. 

The first seminar I have developed is “The Fundamentals of Investor Relations” and is aimed at the person who is relatively new to IR or who has been in the job for a short period of time and wants to make sure they have covered all the bases.  I believe that the basics of investor relations can be taught in an intensive one-day seminar at a modest cost ($300 - $400 per person, depending on location) and further, in order to be respectful of people’s time by eliminating travel, I think that the seminar ought to come to the students’ home market.  In short, I propose to offer a first rate educational experience in an efficient manner at a reasonable cost.  A second seminar, currently in the planning stages, would be for more seasoned practitioners and would feature “Best Practices in Investor Relations”.

So much for the sales pitch.  What I really need now is some input from my readers concerning your interest levels and where you might be.  Additionally, if you are a service provider and think this is something your clients might have an interest in, I’d love to hear from you.  This could be an opportunity for you to reach out and offer them something unique and a little out of the ordinary.  Please email me at  I look forward to hearing from you.   


Alexander said...

I do not think seminars will do it. I think IR should be an interdisciplinary major at colleges (with classes in accounting, finance, management, law, public relations, corporate communications)...

Rob Berick said...

John - it was great "meeting" you today on the phone. I look forward to seeing what you come up with next.