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Druckenmiller gives advice to students, discusses U.S. macroeconomic trends

April 19, 2024

Shihab Moral
DRUCKS IN A ROW: Stanley Druckenmiller '75 appears on Zoom in Druckenmiller Hall, which was named in honor of his grandfather. Druckenmiller gave advice to students interested in pursuing finance and discussed his opinions on government spending.

On Wednesday, Stanley Druckenmiller ’75 made an appearance in Druckenmiller Hall over Zoom. He was the chief donor to the hall named after his grandfather, Stanley F. Druckenmiller. After his time at Bowdoin, Druckenmiller served as a hedge fund manager and a philanthropist who founded the Druckenmiller Foundation, which supports medical research, education and efforts to fight poverty. Alex Ranganathan ’25 and Zack Marchese ’25 moderated the discussion, asking Druckenmiller a range of questions that touched on advice for students who are interested in working in the finance sector.

Druckenmiller began his time at Bowdoin as an English major, but stumbled into an introductory economics course. The rest is history: With the help of the course and his experience as a poker player, Druckenmiller discovered his passion for investing and analyzing the market.

“If I was advising young people today about what to do with their life, my number one thing would be to follow your passion,” Druckenmiller said. “I do this job because I just love it. I’m 71 years old. I’m still in the office 12 hours a day. I worked every day through [Covid-19]. I’m fascinated by it.”

It is this exact fascination that keeps Druckenmiller enthused about the investment sector today.

“One of things I really love about [investing] is [that] it stimulates intellectual curiosity. If you think about it, every event on Earth affects some security somewhere. So you’re always trying to figure out puzzles, look around corners and figure out the future. The only way to do that is to keep yourself informed,” Druckenmiller said.

To keep himself informed in a technologically developing world, Druckenmiller reads three to four newspapers every morning. He finds new developments like artificial intelligence and cloud computing to be invigorating subjects.

“You [have] got to be confident, but also have humility because I’m wrong at least 35 percent to 40 percent of the time. [But] one of the keys to my success is being open-minded enough to know I was wrong and get out of the position instead of being stubborn and think I know something that the market doesn’t,” Druckenmiller said.

Besides giving advice to students interested in a career in finance, Druckenmiller also discussed his opinions on the current macroeconomic conditions of the U.S. An issue especially important to Druckenmiller is the high level of fiscal spending over the last few decades.

“Eight or nine years ago, there was no check at all on government spending, with full employment spending, a trillion dollar deficit under Trump … and then Biden has doubled down with five trillion through Covid,” Druckenmiller said. “What happened now is the debt got so big because [interest] rates were zero.”

Druckenmiller’s position is not entirely against government spending, but is opposed to spending an increasing proportion of the government’s budget on interest payments.

Druckenmiller mentioned that he was also worried about the “crowding out” effect, which refers to the economic concept of high-level government spending diminishing private investments for economic growth.

Students appreciated hearing both Druckenmiller’s views surrounding government spending as well as his advice for using passion to fuel their work in the finance sector.

“I was really interested to hear about his thoughts on the deficit.… I think he had a strong call to action for students about how we can stand up and figure out the economic problems affecting your country,” Ranganathan said.

“Before the talk, I had done research on Druckenmiller and his path to becoming an investor,” Aryan Singh ’26 said. “[But] the one thing I really liked from his account was to ‘follow your passion.’”


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