It’s not often that a person works for a worldwide top-15 foreign policy think tank, writes numerous academic reports and finds himself in a prime position to make a huge impact on the world while in college. However, Hunter Kornfeind has found himself in that position.
Kornfeind, set to graduate in May 2021, majors in finance and political science, a unique blend that has enabled him to follow his career path.
He recently completed a spring internship with the Council on Foreign Relations, a prominent U.S. foreign policy think tank. There, he not only worked with world leaders in the energy sphere, but he published important documents on the global economic impact of energy in the U.S., Russia and abroad.
Kornfeind was also a sector analyst for three semesters for the William C. Dunkelberg Owl Fund, the Fox School’s student-managed equity investment fund. He will serve as the organization’s new chief investment officer for the 2020-21 school year.
“The combination of majors has given me a great perspective on the qualitative and quantitative aspects of research, capital markets and geopolitics, ultimately making me a better student and professional,” Kornfeind says. “The mix of finance and political science majors was to fulfill my interest and passion in the intersection of capital markets, geopolitics and macroeconomics.”
With the Council on Foreign Relations, Kornfeind’s commitment shined through his travel arrangement, at least until COVID-19 forced virtual sessions in March. He traveled from Philadelphia to New York City twice a week.
“Hunter was born ready to be in the professional world,” Cynthia Axelrod, director of the Owl Fund and an associate professor for the Fox School of Business, says. “He is a true leader, self starter and mentor.”
Axelrod worked directly with Kornfeind with the Owl Fund, giving her a front-row seat to his abilities in the industry and his contributions to the fund.
“He has key leadership responsibilities with the Owl Fund regarding investment policy, buy and sell decisions of the Fund with accountability to the Finance Department, Dean Ron Anderson, the Investment Committee of the University and President Englert,” she says.
“My time and experience in the Owl Fund not only allowed me to be in that position at the Council on Foreign Relations, but it provided me with existing knowledge and strengths so I could raise the bar and outperform the expectations of the internship,” Kornfeind says. “At the end of the day, it is hard to imagine what my experience at Temple University would have been like without my participation and experience in the Owl Fund. It is something that I will not forget once I graduate.”
Foreign policy expert Amy Myers Jaffe, a leading expert on global energy policy, geopolitical risk and energy and sustainability and a former Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, was Kornfeind’s direct supervisor. Over the course of five months, he increased his knowledge in the energy and foreign policy space from not only his own work but from drawing on Jaffe’s expertise as well.
For example, Estonian president Kersti Kaljulaid led a roundtable discussion about national security, European politics and investment in Eastern Europe. Occasions like that in addition to his daily tasks of researching, reading and writing about the global energy field provided invaluable experience for the senior.
The former was written to clarify common talking points, policies and debates related to energy. Some topics discussed were the historic OPEC+ deal, U.S. shale production and possible future domestic energy policies.
“The basis for my article was dissecting relevant and sometimes misguided talking points and events in the energy space to better inform readers, while providing some analysis on the environment at the time,” Kornfeind says.
The latter was a deep-dive into issues within the Russian energy sector, such as a brief crude oil price war with Saudi Arabia and the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to the worst decline in production since the Soviet Union fell.
“In summary, the piece was designed to analyze the Russian energy sector and the Kremlin’s energy policy but conclude by showing there are still significant risks for Russia in its new reality,” Kornfeind says.
Added together, these experiences serve as the foundation for a rising star in the energy and finance industries. Although he still isn’t sure exactly where his career path will take him, Kornfeind knows that it will be somewhere where he can make an impact in the intersection of geopolitics, macroeconomics and energy.
When he does begin his career, it will be thanks to his experiences at the Fox School, the Council on Foreign Relations and the Owl Fund.