'06 alumnus Derek Schmidly advises Evangel Student Investment Group
September 21, 2012 | Ian Richardson
Derek Schmidly is one of the rising stars on the Springfield business scene. He currently owns his own financial advising company and works as an adjunct professor and mentor of the Student Investment Group at Evangel University. In March, the Springfield Business Journal recognized Derek as one of its “40 Under 40” for 2012, an honor for the finest young businesspeople in the area.
Schmidly is a 2006 Evangel graduate with a major in Biblical Studies and a minor in Finance. A native of Mount Vernon, Missouri, Derek decided to attend Evangel because he was impressed with the people he knew who had graduated from Evangel. Coming in on a football scholarship, Schmidly punted for the Crusader football team all four years.
“The nice thing about coming in as a freshman and being on a sports team,” he says, “is it gave me a large group of friends and acquaintances from the very beginning. That made me feel a part of the campus community quickly.” He was also involved in leading worship for Chapel services, and one year he went on a service trip to Thailand.
Schmidly says that early on he was undecided when it came to choosing a career path.
“When I came in as a freshman I was not sure what direction I wanted to go,” he says, “but decided to go with Biblical Studies because I believed that no matter what career I pursued, a foundation in biblical principles would be critically important.”
Schmidly’s indecisiveness quickly changed. During his sophomore year, he was approached by a member of his church, Paul Ebisch, who is the current president of the Assemblies of God Credit Union. At the time, Ebisch was working for AG Financial Services and in the process of starting an investment advisory business. Ebisch said that he thought Schmidly could be very good at investment analysis and management. For the next two years, Ebisch served as Schmidly’s mentor.
During his final semester at Evangel, Schmidly took the Series 65 exam, the licensing exam for investment advisers. He went on to the University of Missouri and earned his MBA in 2008 and then returned to Springfield and became the majority owner of Ebisch’s investment advisory business, taking over all of the day-to-day management responsibilities.
Though finance was not Derek’s major area of study in college, he still attributes his time at Evangel to teaching him values about running a business. “Evangel prepared me with the knowledge to build a business on godly principles, whereas my studies outside of school and at Mizzou helped me with the career-specific skills I needed for the job I have.”
Today, Schmidly is the owner of Auxan Capital Advisors, LLC. The business provides investment management, financial planning, and financial forecasting services for individuals and startup businesses. Along with his business responsibilities, Schmidly teaches at Evangel as an adjunct professor.
Student Investment Group
In the past few years, Schmidly has been responsible for pioneering Evangel’s Student Investment Group, an organization composed of students working together to manage the investments of an endowed fund. Membership is open to students of any major. Schmidly was asked to help start the organization in 2009. By applying his investment background and what he had learned from participating in a similar group at the University of Missouri, Schmidly proved instrumental in getting the Student Investment Group up and running. What began with an investment of $5,000 has now grown to $40,000 due to a combination of donations and investment growth.
“Derek volunteered to help oversee the Student Investment Group and to provide investment training to the participants,” says Bernie Dana, chairman of Evangel’s Business Department. “His expertise and time have been invaluable to the success and sustainability of the Student Investment Group.”
As someone who has experienced the feeling of indecisiveness firsthand, Schmidly has useful advice for current and prospective students when it comes to navigating the college years. He recommends weighing every decision in prayer and taking advantage of opportunities to save both time and money. He also says, “When you’re picking your major, take a close look at the professors in the department. Chances are by the end of your studies, you’ll think like they think. So, if you see the professors and think to yourself, ‘I want to become like them,’ that’s a sign it might be the major for you.”
Just as Derek’s journey has proven, having the right kind of mentor can open up a world of opportunity.
– Ian Richardson, sophomore English major at Evangel University