Mark Suleiman, the 22-year-old economics student who started the Shark Fund investment club, continues to make waves in national headlines. Suleiman was recently featured in a USA Today story that made the obvious, albeit perhaps a bit premature comparisons, to former UNL College of Business Administration graduate, Warren Buffett.
Suleiman, who is from Kearney, started the Shark Fund in 2009 with the intent on educating himself and his fellow students about the business of financial investing. His passion for the markets quickly spread to other students and the Shark Fund’s early success captured the imagination of the public.
Now Suleiman faces a whole new challenge. Where to go from here?
“The greatest challenge I continue to face centers solely on managing new enrollment demand for the Fund,” Suleiman said. “It presently has a firm membership ceiling with over 350 professional investors currently marking time on what can best be described as a 'waiting list.’ I have been working to find a solution. What I have come up with is Suleiman & Company; a retail brokerage with independent advisory services similar to a Wells Fargo Advisers or a Morgan Stanley branch office. The firm would satisfy one of my goals; namely, to have a retail investment presence.”
Another goal for Suleiman is to transition the Fund into a publicly traded mutual fund. He believes such a firm would achieve multiple purposes, including giving him additional business experience, building a strong base and helping to achieve the capital requirements necessary to move forward.
In January 2011, Suleiman also began to expand his reach beyond the Fund through investments in software development and taking lessons in commercial real estate.
“I founded and invested in State Studios; a firm developing an online banking platform and a set of proprietary software programs for Suleiman & Company advisers and clients. We’re expecting a prototype of our first real-time stock market client app to be previewed on our website before its launch later this year.”
Suleiman has also spent the better part of this year learning commercial real estate in hopes of delving more into property purchases at some point.
“I’d like to open a Suleiman & Company office in Lincoln by the end of this year. That’s the goal although my academic commitments may force me to delay an opening until January 2012. If it makes sense to open additional locations, they will center around existing client bases outside of Nebraska. My goal is to have at least three Suleiman & Company branch locations operating by Spring 2013.”
It’s this type of vision and goal setting that has helped Suleiman grab the attention of national headlines. He has also had the opportunity to intern in Washington D.C. where he was exposed to aspects of the Federal Reserve, sat in on testimony by Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke and met dignitaries such as former U.S. Secretary of State, General Colin Powell.
Suleiman plans on pursuing either an MBA or a law degree upon graduating from UNL.