the Next Microsoft
don't pick careers so much as fall into them. That's what happened to
Jerry Newman (B.A., '68), who owes a successful
career as an investment banker to a chance encounter with an SF State
classmate in the summer of 1968.
Newman was to start a doctoral program in public administration at Washington
State University the following spring, but in the meantime he needed a
summer job. At an outing at Oakland's Lake Temescal, he ran into a former
classmate who suggested he join him in the back office at Merrill Lynch.
The world of Wall Street was a revelation to this second-generation San
Franciscan, who played competitive tennis and basketball in high school.
"It was like putting on your uniform and playing a game every day,"
said Newman, 57. "I loved it."
Newman was soon bumped up to the trading desk and by age 25 he was the
youngest regional trading manager ever at Merrill Lynch. But it was not
until several years later at SG Cowen Securities Corporation that Newman
discovered the investment arena that excited him the most: venture capital,
the intensive and risky form of investment that deals with businesses
in the early stage of development.
"The venture world is … where the next Intels, Ciscos and Microsofts
will come from, so by its very nature it's much more exciting to me,"
said Newman, who has a master of public administration from Golden Gate
University. His bachelor's degree is also in public administration.
Since 2001, Newman has been heading venture capital coverage as a senior
managing director for Bear, Stearns & Co. Venture capital investment
fell sharply in 2001 and continued to slide in 2002. But Newman, who works
at Bear, Stearns' Palo Alto office, says public markets are now signaling
a positive climate for venture capitalist investment.