As a young kid, Mike Dudas grew up reading black and white copies of The Wall Street Journal, following stocks and watching the markets.
“I think in anything, if you can find something where you love what you do and you have fun doing it, it’s not work, it’s vocation,” said Dudas (’86), who was named one of 10 Fortune magazine All-Star Analysts in 2004.
Analysts who generated consistently impressive research were chosen based on performance over one-year and three-year periods. Dudas covers precious-metals stocks among others. His individual pick of Newmont Mining (NEM) generated a 53% annualized return over three years.
Dudas, a sell-side analyst for Bear-Stearns, said his life hasn’t changed much since being featured in the magazine last June, except getting a few phone calls or mentions from old friends or clients who heard about his being chosen.
“Other than some recognition from colleagues and friends and such,” he said, “ya’ know, the market opens at 9:30 every morning and closes at 4:00.”
In building a career, he said it took him long hours, lots of hard work and a little luck to get where he’s at. “Get with the right firms and work...with the right people and work very hard and, you know, a little luck here and there,” he said, “I’ve been able to have a reasonably decent career out of it.”
Dudas credits the help and guidance of others.
“I’ve worked on Wall Street on the research side for 18 years and have learned from a lot of people who are smarter than I am,” he said. “First, you need to get the big picture or overall trend correct before digging down into the details.
“...You also have to be intensely curious, work hard, and be able to defend your recommendations. Whether you have 30 seconds, 3 minutes, an hour and a half, or all day long at a golf outing, you’re always answering the question: why should I listen to you?”
Dudas said his mom just loved Notre Dame. He applied to come to Notre Dame as a freshman, but was put on a wait list and didn’t get in. So he went to Bloomsburg University, a public university in Pennsylvania that was about three hours from his hometown in New Jersey. During his sophomore year of college, his mother died of breast cancer. A couple of months later, he filled out a Notre Dame transfer form and sent it in. When a few months passed, and he didn’t hear anything, he said he figured it wasn’t meant to be. But, in mid-July, he received an acceptance letter. A few weeks later, he moved to South Bend.
“Notre Dame has been good to me,” he said. “I met my wife, Mary Ellen, here in business law class. I had some great courses: John Halloran’s bank simulation course; Ed Trubac’s course in economics helped me get my head around macro issues. Another interesting course was systematic logic. When dealing with complex issues, it’s so important to be able to think clearly. I think logic is a great course for business majors.” He also credits Frank Reilly for introducing him to the idea of pursuing his CFA immediately after graduating.
Dudas and his wife, a transfer student from St. Mary’s College, set up a scholarship fund at Notre Dame specifically for transfer students. “I think transfer students can get overlooked at Notre Dame, so this seems like a good way to give back,” he said.
Dudas said that maybe by getting this recognition, he will give current Notre Dame students a sense of what’s possible.
“You don’t have to have an MBA or be from a top ten business school to succeed,” he said. “Hey, look at me. I’m a pretty regular guy.”