Rob Wertheimer

MBA '02

Founding Partner and Machinery Analyst
Melius Research

What do you do professionally?

I’m a sell side stock analyst covering machinery and industrial tech. Several partners and I created a start-up financial firm a few years ago, primarily in investment research, and three of us wrote a book this past year, Lessons from the Titans.

What is the most enjoyable part of your job?

I find most parts of this career to be awesome. Meeting with investors to debate ideas is great; the job lets you meet highly intelligent people who have thought a lot about a topic, which leads to stimulating conversations. We get to tour factories across the world and interact with corporate leaders regularly. The variety is maybe best. One day you can be thinking about electric or autonomous vehicle forecasts and the impact on carbon, and the next day on crop sensors or the impact of fracking on oil production.

What is the biggest challenge you face?

Passive investing/index funds have meant active management has struggled to keep up from an asset perspective, which affects our work. By starting our own firm, we can be more nimble and creative to avoid some of those market dynamics, including developing a data business, and look at other growth potentials while building our core business.

What sorts of interesting places has your position taken you? Do you have a favorite?

I once visited three ethanol plants in a day, riding around in the plane of a large farmer. One of the very old grain handling facilities, instead of stairs or an elevator, had a rope with wooden planks on it for steps; it circled around a motor at the top, and workers would just grab the rope, put a foot on the plank, and ride up to the next level. Not sure it would be OSHA compliant these days, or even was then.  They wouldn’t let me try it due to the injury rate. On the other side of the world, and the technology spectrum, we got to tour the building systems of the Burj Khalifa, as well as see the view from the very top.

What is the best professional advice you’ve received?

Approach your career like a marathon. Don’t get discouraged in a hard year—the long term is what matters. Value accumulates over time.

Aside from your current role, what is your dream job?

I’ve been very lucky to find a career that suits my interests and abilities very well, and I wouldn’t want any other. One thing I didn’t get out of most career advice is the day to day; not necessarily what big industries or themes do you like, but what do you actually like doing every day? I like thinking about a variety of things, being creative, and talking to people, and this career is great for that.

Professionally or personally, what are you excited about right now?

Investors are pushing hard on ESG issues, and there’s a rising chance that the world moves to lower carbon technologies across the next decade; the feeling is much more serious than 3-5 years ago, and that is tremendously exciting for the future it may bring children today. Professionally, that means we get to look at electric vehicles, hydrogen powertrains, or other new technologies that could make a safer and better future.

What do you like to do outside of work?

We’ve been biking, skating, and exploring with the kids during COVID, and that has been a wonderful offset to all the other difficulties.

What is the most important thing you learned during your time at Fuqua?

Fuqua was two years of working hard and having fun with smart people, and that is a good playbook for having a successful and enjoyable career.

Who was your favorite professor?

Jennifer Francis in valuation brought so much energy, intellect, and passion to the classes; it was amazing to see how much talent she, and our other professors, had.

What is your favorite Fuqua memory?

Skipping managerial accounting to have beers and the molten lava cake at Chili's with classmates. More than once.

What does Team Fuqua mean to you?

For me, Fuqua opened up huge opportunities that have made my life more successful and enjoyable. The talents and capabilities of my classmates were an inspiration, and the knowledge that hard work and self-direction can get you anywhere was hugely impactful for me.