It took a special opportunity to pull Alex Archer, ’13, off the golf course for a year. Archer, a student in Albion College’s Carl A. Gerstacker Institute for Business and Management, will leave his clubs behind in September when he begins taking four classes at the London School of Economics and Political Science for the entire academic year.
Archer, a Grand Ledge resident who was a two-year letter winner as a member of Albion’s men’s golf squad, has been planning for a career in the finance industry since his formative years. The son of a financial adviser, Archer recalls reading Rich Dad, Poor Dad at 12 years old. The book, written by Robert Kiyosaki and Sharon Lechter, advocates financial independence through investing, real estate, owning businesses, and the use of finance protection tactics.
Starting in late September, Archer turns his attention to courses such as the principles of finance; monetary economics; policy and the Federal Reserve; and the valuation of companies.
“I contemplated the semester program at the University of Saint Andrews, but you only have one chance to go to London,” Archer said. “Greg Saltzman (chair of Albion’s Economics and Management department) is my academic adviser and he encouraged me to go. He dropped everything at MIT to go. It must have been a valuable experience.
“I don’t know if it’s quite hit me,” he added. “I’ll be a 25-minute walk from Parliament, a 30-minute walk from Buckingham Palace, and Big Ben will be right down the road.”
While in London, Archer will be working to line up internships upon arriving back in the United States. He expects to be interviewing via Skype or when he returns for breaks in the academic calendar.
Golf has also taught Archer a valuable lesson about the business world. A caddie at two of Michigan’s top courses–Crystal Downs Country Club and Arcadia Bluffs Golf Club–he has carried the bag for a number of leaders in the corporate world. A Michigan State fan, Archer will never forget the experience of meeting his idol, Drew Stanton, on the links.
Archer, who got his start as a caddie at the Country Club of Lansing, has used his position to watch how business leaders build relationships.
“[Business] is not what they talk about the entire round,” Archer said. “They will talk about a deal for a hole or two, and then they play the rest of the round and have fun.
“I pick people’s brains and watch how they act,” he added. “[Successful people in business] are not that different from you and me. Most of them had an idea, they worked at it, and they got a couple of breaks.”
While his golf career will be on hold, Archer can take pride in knowing he posted his career-best score in an April event in Angola, Ind., and a 2-1-2 career record in Albion’s annual spring event against Alma College.
“I’ll miss varsity golf quite a bit,” Archer said. “I’ll miss [Coach Jordan Rich’s] competitive attitude. Practice was always fun and exciting."
He may be leaving his clubs stateside, but it'll be hard to ignore the links altogether.
“The opportunity to play one of the royal courses [during my time in Britain] would be incredible,” Archer added. “St. Andrews is the mecca of golf, and I will definitely try to make it up there at least once. Having the opportunity to work at courses such as Crystal Downs has given me an even greater respect for the architecture and design of golf courses, definitely aiding in my desire to visit the royal courses.”