University of Southern California

Todd Ammons
Investing in the Future
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Graduating Year
Rancho Palos Verdes, California

Todd Ammons spent five years in institutional equity sales at Citigroup in San Francisco, working his way up from analyst to vice president. He decided he wanted to switch to the "buy" side, where the actual investment decisions are made. "Business school seemed like the best opportunity to do that," he says.

USC was high on his list because of his mother and sister's experience as undergraduates here, but it was the Student Investment Fund-- which allows select MBA students to run part of USC's $3 billion endowment -- that was the deciding factor. "Because I wanted to go into asset management, this program just seemed like a great opportunity to actually get some real-world experience," he says. And, of the asset managers with whom he interacted while at Citigroup, he adds that "probably half of them got their MBA from USC Marshall."

Mr. Ammons and three classmates were chosen to manage USC's Student Investment Fund. "It was something completely special that you really couldn't have gotten anywhere other than SC," he says. "It was really the pinnacle of my MBA career and undoubtedly the highlight. There's nothing that could replicate that."

Among his favorite classes was Professor Harry DeAngelo's course on corporate financial policy. "It was a great melding of both the theoretical and the practical," he says. "He is one of the thought leaders in corporate financial policy. It was one of those classes that you never wanted to miss. You couldn't get that kind of information out of a textbook."

Today, Mr. Ammons -- whose wife is expecting twins this fall -- is back in San Francisco as a health care equity analyst at Akahi Capital Management, a hedge firm. One of the reasons he chose Akahi was the opportunity to focus on health care companies.

When he first went to college, he intended to become a physician. "But after spending a summer in a doctor's office, I realized I couldn't be around sick people all day, but I loved health care," he says. "Even when I was at Citigroup, I spent more time than not working on health care names. The position at Akahi is kind of a mixing of my two worlds. I definitely feel like I'm coming full circle."