April Zhu — Research Analyst
Nothing beats a well-planned, homemade meal.
As a child, my mother and grandmother created dishes that no restaurant could match, and they inspired my love of cooking as an adult. Gathering ingredients at the market, mise en place in the kitchen, or pan frying a carefully chosen piece of fish all provide opportunities to find innovative ways to prepare a meal. I have to manage my time well, multitask, and focus on showcasing the key ingredient. Kind of like investing.
My parents both work in the hospitality industry, and their influence led me to Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration. The Hotel School is often described as a hands-on business degree in an intimate academic environment. My education introduced me to many aspects of business — I took classes ranging from finance and real estate development to marketing and business law. While at Cornell, I most enjoyed finance classes and learning about companies. I became interested in investment banking as a way to learn more about a company’s strategic vision while working with multibillion dollar companies on transformational deals.
After graduation I completed two years as an investment banking analyst at Lazard and Goldman Sachs, working on financing and M&A projects primarily in the consumer retail and industrial space. My banking experience taught me the art and science of financial modeling, and also allowed me to witness firsthand the rationale behind major company management decisions. In the process, I discovered that I was more interested in picking stocks than driving deals. Investing gets closer to the long-term ins and outs of a company and understanding what really matters in relation to what the market cares about.
I joined Daruma in the spring of 2012, after searching for a firm that emphasizes in-depth analysis and allows time for an investment to realize its value. I am excited to be part of a company with a truly long-term investment strategy, a concentrated portfolio and a team-oriented, supportive culture. I am constantly learning new things, regularly monitoring outcomes, refining old techniques, and trying my best to avoid foreseeable mistakes. Just like in the kitchen.