Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Malmsten's Money Talk

Stefan Malmsten talks real fast when he’s excited. 
So listen up when he gets going about boats, ridiculous Time Warner cable fees and starting your 401k early. 
The latter point, well, that’s a recent topic of conversation. As the new intern for Money Magazine, he’s gotta learn his stuff fast. So quiet down about last night’s shenanigans and pull out your pens to remember his latest financial tips. 
Of course it didn’t all come so easy—“a learning curve” is what he calls it. When asked to characterize his experience at the magazine so far, he refers to a pitch meeting that happened a couple of weeks ago.
“One of the writers tells a really long pitch, and she’s talking about who she’s going to talk to for it,” he explains. “Somebody cracks this joke about somebody they weren’t going to talk to because they quote them all the time.” 

Everyone in the room started laughing except for Malmsten. Concerned, he approached his supervisor later and told her that he wasn’t laughing because he wasn’t entertained; the joke just flew over his head. 
“No, it’s okay,” she told him. “I’ve been here a year, and I’m only now getting this stuff.” 
Attempting to explain the joke, she gave him a “quick and dirty” lesson on aggressively managed stock portfolios.
“I still don’t get the joke, but I know what an aggressively managed stock portfolio is,” he says with a laugh. So to his ASME friends, he’s quickly becoming an expert on the numbers world, even though he claims that he’s just slowly picking things up. 
Pat Holmes, Malmsten’s previous Editor-in-Chief at The Post (Ohio University’s student-run, editorially independent daily newspaper) highlighted his impressive work ethic, his “willingness to learn and savvy skillset.” 

When Holmes decided to create a social media staff manned by Malmsten, their digital presence saw a rise in terms of unique visits and site traffic. 

"The more he learned, the better our social media presence got," he said. "This was money we didn’t have, but it was a worthwhile risk we took on Stefan.”
Just like you wouldn’t know he’s new to the money world, you wouldn’t know he’s new to the area. 

“I’m in love with New York City,” he said. “I crave the city life...something about the tall buildings.” 

But he’s an Ohio native—he grew up in South Lebanon, Cincinnati, then migrated to Athens to attend Ohio University and major in journalism. 
That’s only a 2 and a half hour trek from home. It’s nice being close, he says, but there isn’t a doubt in his mind when it comes to moving to the big city after graduation. At 21, he has one more year till then. On the plus side, his sister, Olivia, will be attending OU in the fall. 
“She’s the smart one,” he says, talking about her plan to major in education with a focus on middle school and special ed. “We always got along as kids, which people think is really weird...she’s one of the bravest people I know—she’s inspiring.” 
Then there’s his dad, to whom he attributes handiness. He recruited the young Malmsten to rebuild their deck, landscape the backyard and even dig a trench for some odd project. Apart from being a role model, his father is also slowly becoming his twin. 

“When we walk into a room, people always look at me and go, ‘Ohhh so he’s your son,’” he says. His mom, on the other hand, pushed him to be a better writer. She was the one who read over his middle and high school papers—an editor of sorts. “I wouldn’t be the writer I am without her,” he says. 
And perhaps that’s how he ended up at Money, trying to get today’s joke. Or maybe it’s also because of Vonnegut, Malmsten’s favorite writer. 

“All my favorite authors started out as journalists, and if I wanted to write really well, I figured I’d just follow in their footsteps,” he says. It seems to be going pretty well—ASME is one more step. And rather than being scared about the future of journalism, he’s “stoked.” 
“Wasn’t it Thomas Jefferson that said he would rather have newspapers and no government than government and no newspapers?” he asks. 
Yes it was. Well put, Malmsten. 

There's Malmsten, way on the left, with some ASME friends on the Highline.


Written by Natascha Yogachandra, New York University, Travel + Leisure Magazine
Edited by Haley Goldberg, University of Michigan, Glamour

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