UC business grads soar to new heights with Johnson Investment Counsel Lab

Igniting an electrifying journey into investment trading, financial mastery

In a whirlwind of financial fervor and adrenaline-charged trading, the world of investment and finance wizardry at the University of Cincinnati has never seemed so exciting.

Meet the dynamic duo of Sharif Johnson and Patrick McNamara, two freshly minted UC business graduates, whose dreams have taken flight thanks to the transformative Johnson Investment Counsel Investment Fund scholarship. 

"With the Johnson Investment Counsel Investment Lab, we’re not just students; we’re financial warriors on a battlefield of growth potential,” exclaimed Johnson. McNamara chimed in, his face mirroring the same level of exhilaration. “We’re diving deep into the financial trenches, armed with knowledge and ready for success!” 

This is no ordinary classroom. The Johnson Investment Counsel class at UC's Carl H. Lindner College of Business is a dynamic, hands-on investment experience where real money collides with a simulated trading floor. “It's a place where trading theories evolve into financial mastery using real investors’ money. It’s simultaneously nerve wracking and exhilarating at the same time,” adds McNamara.

Hit the ground running

UC Prof. Appeadu, President Pinto and Tim Johnson inside UC's Johnson Investment Counsel Investment Lab.

UC Prof. Appeadu, President Pinto and Tim Johnson inside UC's Johnson Investment Counsel Investment Lab. photo/courtesy of Carl H. Lindner College of Business

This groundbreaking initiative catapults UC's business students and prepares them for the pulsating heart of the finance world. They're not just learning; the scholars say they're flourishing while honing their skills and preparing to seize future career opportunities.

"We're challenged to think critically as we unearth new companies and craft professional presentation pitches outlining their financial growth potential," Johnson explained.

“Think of it as academia on steroids,” beams McNamara. “We’re not just earning credits; we’re grasping the golden opportunity that is the Johnson Investment Counsel Scholarship.”

Awarded to one student each semester for producing the highest quality work, this financial lifeline is a gift from the generous Tim and Janet Johnson family, philanthropists whose vision has forever transformed the educational landscape of Lindner.

The Johnson Investment Institute and the Johnson Investment Counsel Investment Lab — with its tantalizingly real simulated trading floor — has blossomed into a sanctuary of business innovation.

“Throughout the Johnson Investment Counsel class we were answering inquiries about why we chose specific companies,” says Johnson. “For instance, what sets up JP Morgan differently than Bank of America? What sets Apple apart from Microsoft? We find the ‘why.’”

Indeed, it’s not just a classroom; it's a launchpad for the careers of future finance moguls, declare the scholars. It's where data-crunching transforms into calculated investments, and dreams of conquering the financial world manifest into tangible realities.

By the end of the Johnson Investment Counsel class, McNamara, Johnson, and their peers had prepared comprehensive and cohesive investment theses. It was an intensely formative experience that primed them both for a sprint into the real world of financial management.

A tale of two graduates

UC business students Sharif Johnson and Patrick McNamara stand outside UC's Lindner College of Business.

Sharif Johnson and Patrick McNamara. photo/Melanie Schefft

While Johnson and McNamara received the scholarships in different semesters, their paths converged during their involvement in Lindner’s Investment Banking Club, a separate extra-curricular organization steeped in the art of investing, where they learned mergers and acquisitions and created financial case studies.

Beautiful building behind a river with boats in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

McNamara and Johnson enjoyed vacationing in Amsterdam (image above), Prague and Budapest after graduating from UC, spring 2023. photo/Sharif Johnson

As the club’s president, McNamara crossed paths with Johnson, who served on the executive board.

“After our shared experiences in the club together and receiving the Johnson Investment Counsel Scholarship, we formed a formidable friendship and embarked on a European odyssey after graduation,” says McNamara.

In stark contrast to the intensive research required for stock analysis and company evaluations, the dynamic duo balanced their lives this summer with a spontaneous European adventure, planning their voyage only a month before departure.

“We started our trip in Amsterdam before traveling on to Prague and Budapest, booking a few hostels and other lodging pretty much on the fly,” claims McNamara.

Portrait of UC business student Patrick McNamara in front of an investment trading screen.

Patrick McNamara. photo/Glenn Hartong for UC Foundation

Hailing from Columbus, McNamara chose UC’s Lindner College for its co-op program, robust investment banking offerings and new state-of-the-art facilities.

“Reflecting on my extensive co-op experiences, winning the 2022-23 Finance Co-op Student of the Year award and receiving the Johnson Investment Counsel scholarship, I owe much of my success to Professor Nugent and the Johnson Investment Counsel for these innovative opportunities,” McNamara acknowledges.

After completing his co-op with Stout, a prominent financial services institution in Chicago, McNamara secured a full-time position in July on their investment banking team, specializing in mergers and acquisitions.

Portrait of UC business student Sharif Johnson in front of an investment trading screen.

Sharif Johnson. photo/Glenn Hartong for UC Foundation

Johnson has also achieved success, securing a position with Bank of America in the bustling heart of New York City, following a triumphant internship with them the previous year.

Since July, Johnson has been a vital part of Bank of America’s team, managing investment banking with a specific focus on the healthcare sector.

“I developed an interest in the investment businesses as a child watching my mom dabble in stock purchases for years,” reflects Johnson. “Attending UC was a double blessing, as I’m from Indiana, just a few hours away, and UC’s business college is brimming with innovative resources.” 

“Now, when I call my mom, our conversations about current market and financial issues carry a deeper, more meaningful resonance.”

Through a scholarship that transcends monetary value and an institution that has embraced the power of experiential learning, these scholars believe the future of business education at UC is laden with opportunities that sparkle with as much energy as the trading floor they now call home.


Featured image at top: UC business students Patrick McNamara and Sharif Johnson sit on the printed steps inside UC's recently remodeled Carl H. Lindner College of Business. photo/Melanie Schefft

Next, Now

With its focus on innovation and impact, Next, Now: The Campaign for Cincinnati is where ambition meets action. At the University of Cincinnati and UC Health, we’re driven by next; thinking bolder and dreaming bigger to create the tomorrow we envision, today. Learn more at nextnow.uc.edu.

About the Johnson Investment Counsel

In 1965, Timothy E. Johnson, Ph.D., founded Johnson Investment Counsel, an investment management firm that merged proven theories about security analysis and portfolio management with his genuine interest in helping people and institutions. With the help of experienced professionals and knowledgeable staff, the Johnson Investment Counsel has steadily grown to become the state’s largest independent wealth management firm. Through Johnson Private Client Group (which comprises Wealth Advisory Services, Family Office Services, and Financial Advisory Services), Johnson Trust Company, and Johnson Institutional Management, the company serves individuals, corporations, retirement plans, foundations, and endowments. For more information, please visit johnsoninv.com.

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