Each year, we spotlight our Highland Capital Management Tower Scholar Seniors. We enjoy hearing about their journey through the program and how their perspective on the importance of sound policy evolved when combined with their own academic interests. This year, we asked our incoming and current scholars to interview the seniors and were delighted by the conversations captured.

Ben Allbright ’24 interviewed Steven Manning ’22 about why he applied for the Tower Scholars Program, the defining moment from the program and his post-graduation plans.

Why did you apply to the Tower Scholars Program?

Steven participated in National Circuit Debate in high school and wanted a way to continue pursuing his interest in policy while majoring in finance. He saw the Tower Scholars Program as a way to continue with that side of his academic interests, while connecting policy with its impacts on business.

What has the Tower Scholars Program given you?

Steven feels that his time in the Tower Scholars Program has given him a framework for evaluating public policy. He feels that the program has given him an understanding of how markets and regulations function in today’s world. Steven strongly believes that understanding policy allows you to determine where inefficiencies exist. Additionally, a thorough understanding of policy can point out unintended consequences of bad policy. Someone who understands policy can clearly articulate the problems within a given policy and the changes that should be made to correct them. Outside of Tower classes, Steven has enjoyed building connections with people who carry out important policymaking work. He has also enjoyed attending events at the Bush Center which have further contributed to his policy knowledge.


What has been a defining part of the Tower Scholars Program for you?

Steven has enjoyed the practicum as it has given him the ability to have a hands-on policy making job at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas while continuing his studies at SMU. While at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, he has been able to engage in policymaking outside of the private sector in an area that affects the behavior of the public sector. Steven’s practicum experience nicely compliments his plans for the future.

What are your postgraduate plans?

Steven plans to go full-time into the Real Estate Finance group at Goldman Sachs. He will work through the required two-year investment analyst program at Goldman Sachs. He is excited to work with the organization and see real estate deals come across his desk. Working at a large firm like Goldman Sachs lets him see trends because of the large volume of work they do. Someday, Steven would like to own his own business. Although he does not plan on working in public policy immediately after graduation, it is certainly something he may consider down the road.