Blake Phillips is not your average financial investor. With a passion for exercise, Blake pursued a BS in Kinesiology at Berry College and started personal training to earn extra money in college. The hours in personal training, however, were sporadic, leaving long gaps during the day for a second job. Blake researched ways to grow his income. He studied finance and the stock market, pulling insights from any and all financial literature. With each paycheck, he began purchasing company shares and discovered a new passion.
“I started reading Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal every chance I could. When I think about it, I’ve always been interested in finances and the power of money. In the 9th grade, before I could even drive, I met with my parent’s financial advisor to purchase Apple Stocks with birthday money.”
Blake comes from a family of entrepreneurs. He calls his two sets of parents his trusted ‘board of advisors.’
“Both my dad and stepmom are accountants, but a few years ago they left the corporate world to open a new-concept bakery (Honeysuckle Biscuits and Bakery). My stepdad on the other hand built the 3rd largest sanitation business in Georgia and then sold to the 2nd largest. He never even went to college! Not content with retiring, he’s starting up again with Boomerang Sanitation because he keeps coming back to market. They all have such unique perspectives to offer me in the world of finance.”
To get his feet wet, his dad and stepmom allowed Blake to help build Honey Suckle Biscuits and Bakery from scratch (literally). The business is thriving, and there are talks of launching new locations.
Even with the excitement of successfully launching a restaurant, Blake was eager to better align his career with his love of finance and the stock market. To narrow his financial career path, Blake scheduled meetings with any financial professional who would give him the time. He spoke with advisors, bankers, and managers to determine his niche in the broad umbrella of finance.
When considering a graduate degree, he requested information from multiple schools, attended open houses, and met with students and faculty to ensure the investment would pay dividends.
“Robinson is the only school in Georgia that offers a masters concentrated in Finance. I researched the faculty and curriculum offered and investigated other schools, UGA and Emory included, and no one competes with what GSU has to offer. When I attended open house, I was introduced to Dr. Yates and learned about the Fintech Lab, Panthers on Wall Street, and the incredible mentorship program offered here. I am blown away by this program.”
Blake continues to work at Honeysuckle during the day and listens to quarterly conference calls from the companies he follows nightly to make future investment decisions. When asked what he hopes to do upon graduation, Blake shared “Right now, I’d like to do work with investments. Hedge funds are particularly intriguing to me, as their strategies are always changing and adapting. But as I take these different classes on trading strategies, evaluating assets, corporate finance and so on, I’m excited to discover more of what I love. Investments are never black or white. Investments are a unique combination of art and science. I am excited to continue learning about the art and science of it all in this program!”