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Student Spotlight: Phil Payne


Jordana Walls-SmithKingston, Tennessee, native Phil Payne did not have to travel far from home to find his academic niche. The Roane County High School graduate chose to attend UT Knoxville, where he majored in finance and minored in accounting; he graduated cum laude in December 2010. Payne is continuing as a student in UT’s College of Business Administration this fall as a member of the full-time MBA Class of 2012.

Although he graduated with his undergraduate degree months ago, Payne has not taken any breaks from spending hours in the Haslam Business Building. He was chosen from a large pool of candidates to work in the Masters Investment Learning Center (Masters ILC) during his senior year of undergraduate coursework, and he was so well received that he was asked to serve as the associate director of the center in the months leading up to his fall coursework.

As part of his work in the Masters ILC, Payne has trained over 150 undergraduate and graduate students on using Bloomberg terminal software.  He has served as an adviser for the UT Investment Group, made up of students with an interest in investment and finance, and he manages the Knoxville News Sentinel Stock Game, which has over 200 participants from 50 East Tennessee middle and high schools who manage hypothetical portfolios of $100,000.

In addition to his work this summer in the Masters ILC, Payne worked as an intern with Merrill Lynch in Knoxville.  As fall semester begins, he will work as a graduate assistant in the Masters ILC, continuing his work with students pursuing Bloomberg acknowledgements. He also has been selected as a Haslam Torch Fund manager, managing approximately $450,000 in a long equity portfolio funded by the generosity of James A. Haslam II.

During Payne’s limited free time, he manages his own equity portfolio using fundamental analysis. He is an avid snowboarder and wake boarder, even assisting with the start-up of a snowboard shop in Knoxville in 2008 called The Board Room, Inc. After completing his MBA (with a focus in finance), Payne hopes to pursue a career in investment, working as an analyst or portfolio manager for an investment bank.

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