Kyle Johns

Work hard each day and jump at any opportunity to take on additional responsibility, even if the task isn’t exactly glamorous.

Finance - Alumni

Kyle Johns (HCB ’07) took a rare path for his generation while rising to become a portfolio manager and four-year partner at Atlanta Capital Management: he’s with the same firm where he landed his first job out of college. Johns says that despite being in a field that often equates Ivy League degrees and company transitions with achievement, his real-world experience and go-getter attitude led him to success.

“Make yourself irreplaceable,” Johns says. “Work hard each day and jump at any opportunity to take on additional responsibility, even if the task isn’t exactly glamorous. Being a problem solver/self-starter goes a long way. Always be thinking whether you can figure out the answer to a complex problem on your own.”

Johns says this attitude was something he learned from the culture and curriculum at the Haslam College of Business. He routinely gives back to the college to provide opportunities for students, which he says has been instrumental to his career. In particular, Johns remembers a visit to New York City with the Financial Management Association (FMA) where he met with investment banks and big-hitters in the financial industry.

“We walked the trading floors of Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, met with the Wall Street legend Alan ‘Ace’ Greenberg of Bear Stearns, and we were hosted for a lunch at the renowned Marco-Research firm, ISI Group,” Johns says. “The trip opened my eyes to new possibilities and confirmed my dream of pursuing a career in money management.”

The trip costs around $350 a day per student, which Johns stated would not have been possible for him without financial support from generous donors. Johns tries to pay the generosity forward by serving on Haslam’s Young Alumni Board. The board cultivates leaders who serve as liaisons between the college, alumni and students.

“I feel like it’s my responsibility to pass on the generosity I experienced to current and future students,” Johns says.

Through the Young Alumni Board he has been able to keep in touch with professors and mentors who helped pave the way for him and stay up-to-date on curriculum changes in the finance program.

“I’m proud to see how much more the finance program is now geared toward real-world learning and offering courses that dovetail with Level 1 CFA curriculum and classes that use Bloomberg,” he says. “Students can even actively manage money by participating in the TVA Investment Challenge. We are constantly improving as a college; it is good to see. “