alumni Spotlight

June Alumni Spotlight with Michael Tanney, MSEd '15
june 18 alumni spotlight

How does one bridge the gap between higher education administration and investment advisement? In this month’s alumni spotlight Michael Tanney discusses the surprising similarities between these disciplines, his role on the Marxe Dean’s Advisory Board, and more.

How do you connect an MSEd in Higher Education Administration with investment advisement?
Building a thoughtful, broadly diversified portfolio of quality investments and leading a higher education institution have similarities. I make disciplined adjustments based on a multitude of factors while ensuring the integrity of the portfolio is never compromised. The same delicate balance is required when making changes at an educational institution. The balancing act dictates the velocity of the change. As you can infer, neither a portfolio nor educational institution is built to move quickly or on emotion.

Tell us about Wanderlust Wealth and your role there.
Wanderlust Wealth is a registered investment advisory firm (RIA) that manages our clients' money as if it were our own. We act in a fiduciary capacity to deliver goal-based financial counsel and comprehensive wealth management solutions. Our mission is to serve the investment and financial needs of our clients.

In our role as investment advisors, we provide our clients with product-agnostic, conflict-free advice. We utilize high conviction investment vehicles and always give clients access to their wealth. Our commitment to being present and mindful with our clients is based on three guiding principles: Intellectual Capital, Structured Process, and Client Accessibility.

In my role as co-founder and Managing Partner, I provide personalized, high-quality investment advice with a focus on growth and preservation of investable wealth through sound asset allocation and risk management.

What do you do on the Marxe Dean's Advisory Board?
Members of the Advisory Board are responsible for strengthening the connectivity among Marxe students, faculty, alumni, and administration. The board consists of a diverse group of accomplished individuals including decorated military, entrepreneurs, executives, governmental figures, and professors. We collaborate with Marxe Dean Birdsell and his team to continue the positive momentum of the Marxe School.

One of our main areas of focus is to re-engage alumni and encourage involvement in the Marxe community. Do you possess the skills to review resumes, conduct mock interviews, or talk to students about your real-world experiences? Don't be surprised if you are contacted by us; we are looking for great people like you!

Why did you choose the Marxe School?
My first exposure to the school was through my wife, who earned her MPA with honors from Marxe in 2012. An executive for a global non-profit organization, she has leaned heavily on the skills and network she acquired while at the Marxe School.

As a professional who invests other people's money, my mind is always identifying dislocations in the markets. For the price of one semester at NYU or Columbia, a graduate student can earn their entire degree at the Marxe School. Some of the professors who teach at the competing schools are also present in the Marxe classrooms. The value proposition of a degree from Marxe was (and is) so obvious that I couldn't pass at the opportunity.

What was your experience like and how do you plan on using your degree?
I was one of only a few students in the Higher Education Administration program who did not have full-time experience working in an academic environment. Not able to fall into groupthink of how higher education politics functioned, I approached each class and assignment with a naïve mind. I found all of my professors to be intellectually stimulating, engaging, and sincerely caring for their students. I made friends and professional connections, which make me a better and more well-rounded member of society today, and help prepares me for the next phase of my career.

College campuses have an energy level I find contagious and invigorating. College is where the perfect cocktail of ambition, curiosity, excitement, and naiveté combine to form once-in-a-lifetime experiences. There will come a time in my life, most likely when I have many gray hairs (I’m optimistic I’ll still have hair), that I roll out of bed one morning tired of managing other's money and explaining that the gyrations of the markets are meaningless to their investment outcomes. When that day arrives, I will have a Master’s Degree and real-world experiences, to jumpstart my second career helping lead a higher education institution. Maybe the Marxe School would be willing to review my resume…