Alumna Interview: SHSAA Director Anna Nikolayevsky ’88
The Stuyvesant High School Alumni Association (SHSAA) would like to send our warmest thanks to SHSAA Director Anna Nikolayevsky ’88, who recently gave a $100,000 donation to fund the StuyPrep Program. Keep reading to learn more about Ms. Nikolayevsky and why she thinks StuyPrep is important.
Ms. Nikolayevsky is the founder and Chief Investment Officer of Axel Capital Management, a fundamentally-driven alternatives firm specializing in global equities. Prior to founding Axel in 2002, Ms. Nikolayevsky was an analyst at Zweig-DiMenna Associates, LLC, a multi-billion dollar hedge fund where she was responsible for sourcing and managing long/short equity investments in multiple industries. Before Zweig, Ms. Nikolayevsky was an analyst at Goldman Sachs Asset Management, covering autos, semiconductors, software, and utilities for the Growth & Income and Large Cap Value funds. After graduating from Stuyvesant, Ms. Nikolayevsky obtained a BS from the Leonard Stern School of Business at New York University in Economics and International Business and a MBA in Finance from Columbia Business School.
Can you tell us a little about your Stuyvesant experience?
Stuyvesant, to me, was a formative experience. I entered 9th grade as a poor, skinny, immigrant kid who commuted on the A-train from Washington Heights. A native Russian speaker, I had learned English just a few years before and acutely felt that I didn’t belong anywhere. After a semester, I realized that I belonged at Stuy where intellectual and physical diversity was the norm. There was a group for you whether you were a Goth, athlete, journalist, artist, mathematician, poet, or chess player. If a group didn’t exist, you could create one.
In what way has Stuyvesant impacted your life?
While at Stuyvesant, I overcame some of my shyness. One day on the school steps, I met a teacher with a limp. His name was Jacob Irgang, and, to my great surprise, he allowed me to audit his advanced placement economics class, leading me to major in econ as an undergrad at NYU Stern. Principal Abe Baumel (who was also my physics teacher) encouraged me to pursue a finance career and wrote one of my college recommendations. Stuyvesant put me on a path of self-actualization where even remote goals seemed achievable.
With so many smart, hard-working, competitive kids in one place, it is inevitable that you get cross pollination. Students literally push each other to excel. Aristotle said that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, and that is precisely what we have at Stuy.
What motivated you to give such a generous gift to the StuyPrep Program, and what are you hoping for StuyPrep to achieve?
Stuyvesant is a truly special school. I hope that this gift to StuyPrep further expands the breadth of the student body. Many of those students who are currently unaware of Stuy could both benefit from and contribute to its academic and social standards. Going to Stuyvesant can provide them with confidence, a tremendous education and future leadership opportunities.