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Sophomores visit The Motley Fool

April 22, 2016

On Friday, April 15, as part of Madeira’s financial literacy program, 41 members of the sophomore class toured The Motley Fool in Alexandria, VA. Co-founded by past Madeira parent David Gardner (Katherine ’12) and his brother Tom in 1993, The Motley Fool is an investment agency that focuses on helping individual investors.

Upon walking into the offices, students saw firsthand the influence a company’s culture can have on its success. Recognized as one of the best places to work by The Washington Post and others, Motley Fool employees, or “The Fools” for short, all share the company’s core value, which is displayed on placards on every desk: From persistence to magnificent excelsior. The office features open work spaces that allow for creativity and collaboration, and many workstations are on wheels to allow for flexibility. The class was impressed with the café, extensive library and unlimited vacation the company offers, and were excited to spot a few treadmill desks! As Charlotte Zhao ’18 said, “I was really excited to see that not only tech companies like Google have a freer and more interesting working environment. I had always thought companies that dealt with finance and investment were all similar to the ones on the Wall Street.” 

After the tour, nine employees from various departments, including alumna Gabby Lapera ’07, an analyst at The Motley Fool, hosted a Q & A session for the students. The “Fools” shared with students that finance is personal and they view their job is to help people feel good about their investing. Each member of The Motley Fool staff receives their own personal stipend to invest in whatever they choose. The sophomores asked a wide range of questions about how to get started in investing, what each person liked about working at The Motley Fool, how their organizational culture helps them be successful, internship opportunities, and more. The staff gave thoughtful answers to each of their questions, and urged the students to be honest about their work style and to find work environments that allowed them to test and learn.

Students took away many different things from their field trip:

“This field trip reminded me to acquire as many financial skills as possible so that I can better manage my daily life,” shared Lucy Li ’18.

And Maddie Bennett ’18 reflected, “I’ve always heard of people starting up companies, but I’ve always told myself that it would be too risky. After my time at The Motley Fool, I believe I could start up a company. It was really brave of them to think differently from other companies in the way that they handle hours, vacation, job titles, etc. as their policies are so vastly different from any other typical company…”

Ciara O'Donoghue ’18 felt a key takeaway was learning that, “fun does have a place in one’s life, be it the work place or at school, one shouldn't conform to the norms, and that change is hard but good.”

Coupled with their session with Invest in Girls, the sophomores have completed their first year of their three-year financial literacy curriculum focused on managing their own budgets and finances and learning about the opportunities that exist in financial service careers.

The Madeira School is grateful the Motley Fool for this fun and unique opportunity!

Academics Leadership