David Black

Financial Advisor

David Black’s career path in the financial sector has been a bit unorthodox yet quite impressive. David’s rise started NY earning history and political science degrees from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor back in 1998. This world-class educational institution provided David with a thorough understanding of societal institutions, historical trends, politics, and economics, setting the stage for a successful transition to the world of business and finance.

After graduating from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, David Black worked for StreetAccount, a financial services start-up. FactSet has since acquired this company. StreetAccount is a leading stock market intelligence news service that provides valuable information about investments, economics, political developments, and other important news in real-time. This service cogently delivers timely and accurate news that is meaningful to corporations and those who participate in securities investing.

David’s time spent at StreetAccount helped form its identity and build momentum toward its eventual acquisition. This introduction to the world of finance provided David Black with the experience necessary for a seamless transition to management. David embraces the opportunity to interact with others, share ideas, and creatively collaborate to advance his employer’s interest and the overarching community’s greater good.

David Black went on to become a Managing Director at SAC Capital. David served in this capacity between 2006 and 2013. SAC is a corporate finance specialist that also serves as an investment advisor for partners and clients. David’s efforts with SAC helped the company establish its role as an expert provider of economic and market research for small and medium-sized enterprises across many disciplines. SAC Capital was later rebranded as Point72 Capital Management.

David also served as an Advisor with Quadra Advisors LLC from 2006 to 2018. His experience in the financial sector paved a path to becoming a Managing Director of Business Development with Balyasny Asset Management (also referred to with the acronym of BAM) in 2013. David’s time at BAM helped advance the company’s push to create industry-leading models for optimal performance. BAM, launched in 2001, was initially established in a Chicago office where highly complex long and short equity trading occurred.

Today, BAM is a worldwide financial firm that provides an investment platform revered by the industry’s best and brightest. This platform has evolved to encompass three primary strategies: Long/Short Equities, Event & Credit, and Macro. BAM leverages the knowledge and expertise of individuals such as David Black across a litany of asset classes, industries, and markets to identify investment opportunities.

Today, David lives in New York City, New York, the epicenter of domestic and global finance. However, as detailed below, David recognizes there is more to life than making money.

While many other professionals in the finance sector strictly focus on number-crunching, David cares about the greater good. David has been a member of UNICEF dating back to 2013. UNICEF, short for United Nations Children’s Fund, is an agency that provides developmental and humanitarian aid to kids across the globe.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

I wake up early which I’ve found is critical. I then get caught up on news/markets and any emails that have come in overnight, then get in some form of exercise. After that, I’ll try to tackle first the tasks that are most critical for that day. I’ve learned that it’s very easy to be reactive i.e. letting email dictate your workflow and you can feel busy, but you’re not actually moving the ball forward. I’ll then typically have 3-5 meetings split between internal with team members or external, and then the balance of time is left to execute. I’ll typically work until around 7 pm. Before I leave the office I take an inventory of what is most critical to tackling for the next day. This is also a key part of my process.

How do you bring ideas to life?

It’s really about creating space to think critically in order to crystallize your ideas and then upstreaming that vision to team members to help execute.

What’s one trend that excites you?

I think it’s the realization that people can work in any number of locations and be highly productive if you have a passionate team like we do at Balyasny. While time in the office is critical for collaboration across teams and the overall organization, WFH [work from home] has enabled employees to better manage their personal lives and spend more time with family which leads better long-term outcomes.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

I think it’s about investing the time to connect with your team on a personal level and authentically develop a team mentality. If team members know you are there for them and champion their success you’re going to get the best out of them.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Not to underestimate the power of time management

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

I think at Baly we passionately believe in our culture and the premise that if you foster a positive and collaborative environment coupled with best-in-class resources that you’re going to get the most out of your people.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Consciously work every day to be incrementally better across every aspect of your life than you were the day before. This is a habit that has a compounding effect and the ethos of Balyasny

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

For me it’s simple. I aligned myself from day 1 with talented people who are passionate about finance, of the highest character, and I’ve invested in those relationships.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

I have been fortunate in my career that whenever I’ve faced significant challenges I’ve been able to lean on mentors to help me see around the corner. I think it is key in any industry and without question in finance that you have to identify great mentors early on in your career.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

WFH [work from home] has single-handedly changed the game and there are innumerable opportunities that I think are compelling as this plays out.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

The book, The New Rules of Living Well by Frank Lipman and Danielle Claro and a yoga mat.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

Radical Candor by Kim Scott

What is your favorite quote?

“Success is not final, failure is not final, it is the courage to continue that counts” Winston Churchill

Key Learnings:

  • To be successful first and foremost you have to identify what you’re good at and love to do
  • Work with individuals you believe in, who you respect, and who make you better
  • ABLE: Always Be Learning & Evolving
  • Do right by others; it sounds simple, but this will pay off in spades