Alexey Loganchuk, BS ’06

Founder, Upgrade Capital

As a high school student in Prague and Toronto, Alexey Loganchuk already knew he wanted to study business and to live in New York City. “Watching my father rise from humble beginnings through business was a huge source of inspiration for me while growing up,” Loganchuk said. “I wanted to follow in his footsteps, and there are few better places in which to learn about business than New York.”

He began to realize his dream as an undergraduate at NYU Stern. The School afforded him “an extraordinary opportunity” to discover what he enjoys doing, he said. “I appreciated the ease with which you can step outside the business school bubble at Stern – be it into the broader NYU community or into the city. That perspective allowed me to understand that I didn’t have to limit myself to a linear career path.”

As a senior, Loganchuk started working full time for JPMorgan’s exotic derivatives business in London while taking independent studies courses remotely to complete his Stern degree. He went on to work as a risk exploration and transparency (RET) analyst in Tokyo, an exotic derivatives trader in Hong Kong, and a convertible bonds trader in New York, all for JPMorgan. “Being RET’s first rep in Asia, I was able to shape a lot of what the team did,” he recalled. “When the financial crisis hit in the middle of my time in Tokyo, I came to be associated more with fire-fighting – mitigating risks as we were seeing them blow up – rather than simply providing senior management with forward-looking guidance. I worked with developers and quants to design and implement dozens of new systems and processes.”

“Still, our development work could only go so far,” Loganchuk recounts. “There was always a human element in the machine – and there was only so much we could do to improve it. Even if chronic underperformers were fired, we lacked the screening tools necessary to ensure prospective replacements would fare better in the long term. I was surprised to hear friends at other firms say they struggled with the same problem.”

That experience helped guide him to found his latest venture, Upgrade Capital. In September 2011, Loganchuk launched the firm with the goal of providing buy-side firms with a Web-based platform to help with recruiting decisions. Instead of using the traditional model of screening résumés, Upgrade Capital identifies young people with a passion for investing by gathering and assessing performance records, trade ideas, and activity data. Currently, Upgrade Capital is representing Fortress Investment Group in engaging more than 1,200 students across 20 universities – “NYU among them, of course,” Loganchuk added. One obstacle Loganchuk faces more often than he’d like is institutional inertia: having to persuade companies to adopt Upgrade’s innovative approach to recruiting. “Generally speaking, getting people to make the leap from agreeing that proposed changes make sense to actually implementing those changes has been, and continues to be, my biggest challenge,” he lamented. Techniques he learned at Stern, most notably in the Management and Organizational Analysis course, helped him overcome that resistance. Loganchuk explains: “It’s about building a sense of ownership among key stakeholders: communicating our vision in such a way as to encourage constructive input and then acting quickly on it.”

As his career progresses, Loganchuk finds himself increasingly appreciative of his Stern education. “The School has done a great job of preparing generations of students for extraordinary success,” he reflected. “You feel that history very strongly at Stern.”