Tulane’s Sehic uses finance internship to prepare for career after college basketball

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Samir Sehic

NEW ORLEANS – Tulane men’s basketball standout Samir Sehic enjoyed a successful 2017-18 season as one of the top scoring and rebounding reserves in the American Athletic Conference, and while his production was obvious on that statistics sheets, he started making contributions in the business world as well.

Just as the spring semester at Tulane began in January 2018, Sehic was already 15 games into his hoops campaign but his determination off the court was just as strong when he took on the challenge of a 20-hour per week internship with Neal Kaye – an accredited private investment fiduciary in the Central Business District of New Orleans.

“I wanted to dabble in finance a bit before hitting the real world,” Sehic said. “It’s important for me to get some experience in a field I’m interested in before I have to do it every single day.”

The opportunity wasn’t one that was obtained through a phone call, e-mailing a résumé or walking in the door. In fact, the path was drawn by Sehic’s professor in the A.B. Freeman School of Business, Robert Hailey, a Tulane alumnus and the Senior Associate Vice President for University Services

“I took one of his marketing classes last summer and he ended up contacting me during the fall,” Sehic said. “That led to a chain of Tulane alums and professors I was introduced to before finally meeting Neal.”

Kaye, whose last name is pronounced ‘Coy,’ opened his own private investment and wealth management company nearly three years ago after doing similar work for over 40 years with multiple companies. Sehic describes the positive nature of his direct working relationship with Kaye as an important part of his early success.

“It’s really just me and him in there,” Sehic said. “At the beginning, he was guiding me along and still teaches me every day, but now I’m able to offer suggestions to help grow the business. It’s almost like a one-on-one classroom. Every day, he brings forth a new challenge. We take a look at how the stock market is doing, steps we need to take and what the future holds for clients and other companies.”

Work aside, Sehic and Kaye share interests in more than just their passion for the world of finance. Kaye can be spotted cheering on his protégé and the Green Wave at Avron B. Fogelman Arena in the Devlin Fieldhouse.

“Neal is a big basketball fan and comes out to a lot of our games,” Sehic said. “He understands that school and basketball come first, so he lets me prioritize those things. I’ve always believed that there are a lot of hours in a day to accomplish things and I’m using some of my freedom to work toward a career.”

Sehic, who transferred to Tulane from Vanderbilt during the summer of 2016, sat out the 2016-17 basketball season due to NCAA rules. His hard work in the classroom during his first two years as a Tulane student put him ahead of the normal pace when he graduated with his bachelor’s degree in finance in May of 2018 while holding two years of athletic eligibility on the basketball court.

Sehic’s commitment to Kaye’s firm during the summer months has not wavered, as he prepares to enter graduate school and continue to build his portfolio. It was during his internship that an idea came to mind for him pursue a career path similar to Kaye’s, but with a sports twist.

“Many of Neal’s clients have made large investments into their futures,” Sehic said. “During my experience with him, I’ve been thinking about starting my own company like this to help professional athletes with retirement planning. It would be a way for me to connect the two worlds I know.

“A lot of athletes struggling with managing money, but even the ones who do it well need to prepare to do it after their playing careers are over and their incomes aren’t the same. I want to help them maintain their lifestyles.”

Sehic knows sports and he knows business. What he also understands is the importance of saving money, and that was a lesson from his parents he took to heart very early in life when they immigrated to the United States from Bosnia in 1996.

“I’m pretty good at managing money,” Sehic said. “I come from a family that didn’t start at zero. They started at negative 15. Seeing what my parents went through to get to where they are now motivates me. On top of his blessings and some investments, my father always says the number one reason he’s made it to where he is today was through savings.”

He has even laid out his own plan for saving money later in life, which many know takes an incredible amount of discipline no matter the financial freedom a person creates.

“There are a lot of wealthy individuals who still live paycheck-to-paycheck,” Sehic said. “They enjoy a luxurious lifestyle, but if something happened, they might struggle. I don’t want to live paycheck-to-paycheck. I tell myself that if I make $200k, I’m going to live like I make $75k, and if I make $100k, live like I make $50k. It’s a discipline I plan to teach myself and I’m practicing as a young adult.”

Sehic’s ability to think ahead on the basketball court and off is crucial to his success in both realms, and that has set the table for his bright future.

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