From Wall Street to Academia

By Robert C. Jones Jr.

From Wall Street to Academia

By Robert C. Jones Jr.
Former investment banker Charmel Maynard leads UM’s investments and treasury functions.

At just 22 years old, Charmel Maynard hadn’t faced much adversity in his life. Not quite a year removed from Amherst College, he was just starting to get his career off the ground, working as an analyst at J.P. Morgan’s investment bank in New York City.

Then came the crisis that would test his mettle. As the Great Recession of 2008 picked up steam, job losses across the nation mounted, and J.P. Morgan awas not immune to the attrition. In the span of just a few months, Maynard’s team at the company had dwindled from 300 professionals to just 75.

“Essentially, everyone around me on my desk was gone,” he recalls. “It was scary.”

But a confident and ambitious Maynard rose to the challenge. “I saw the glass as half full rather than half empty,” he says, “and I actually learned the most about my profession during those times.”

He did so through the power of observation, learning what senior-level leaders at the global investment bank focused on and how they managed during times of crisis. “Because of all of the layoffs, instead of going through three different layers, they had to come straight to me. So at a young age I got the chance to work with some of the top people at the firm. And as I was promoted from an analyst to an associate and finally to a vice president, I had this incredible direct access to people you see on CNBC and other business news outlets.”

Today, Maynard serves a different client base. As associate vice president and treasurer at the University of Miami, he is part of a team “dedicated to the cultivation and education of college students. And that’s been truly inspiring and motivating for me,” he says.

“If I do my part—and that’s mainly through making sure the U has a stable balance sheet and that we continue to grow our growth pool assets and opportunistically access capital for projects—I know I can help make a difference.”

And that he has. After arriving at UM in 2016 as an assistant treasurer and quickly rising through the ranks to his current post, Maynard has played a major role in UM’s outperformance for fiscal year 2017, helping to spearhead efforts to safeguard the institution’s assets, increase efficiencies, and update asset allocations.

“Investment banking definitely provided me with a rock solid set of technical skills that directly led to my role here,” says Maynard. “The biggest thing that I took from [working at J.P. Morgan] is it taught me a good work ethic and how to hustle. That no is not an answer—there’s always a solution.”

Despite the pressures and demands that come with his job, Maynard still finds time to connect with UM students and alumni. He’s given both groups advice on navigating the job recruiting process of Wall Street. “It’s my job as an administrator to go above and beyond to help our students and alums when they reach out,” he says, noting that he mentors students in the UM Business School’s Bermont/Carlin Scholars program.

One piece of advice he often gives students: “Experience and explore your educational path.” If anyone would know, it is Maynard, a former Wall Street wiz kid who didn’t major in finance or economics at Amherst, but political science.

“Political science taught me how to synthesize large amounts of information,” Maynard explains. “I read Plato’s Republic and the works of Aristotle, and I learned to distill it down to a clear and concise message. That’s applicable to any field, and it’s especially useful in finance, where we’re required to look at large datasets, make decisions, and explain results to various groups of people in layman’s terms.”

While at Amherst, Maynard supplemented his political science courses with finance- and accounting-related classes, always knowing that he wanted to work in the business field. “What I tell a lot of aspiring finance people is, you may not be as fast out of the gate as the kid who went to Wharton, but the analysis and the reasoning behind your answers are what people really care about,” says Maynard. “It’s not simply a matter of calculating a number as quickly as you can, but being able to tell what the number means. Applying those values has helped me tremendously from a long-term career perspective.”

Maynard is a finalist for one of South Florida Business and Wealth magazine’s Up & Comer Awards, which honor young professionals who have achieved excellence in their careers, shown a commitment to their community, and demonstrated leadership. Winners for the awards, which are given in a variety of categories, will be announced June 6 at the 2018 Up & Comer Awards Celebration at Xtreme Action Park in Fort Lauderdale.