Stuyvesant High School in New York City has always attracted high achievers, but 17-year-old Mohammed Islam is going straight into the Stuyvesant High Hall of Fame come spring, when he graduates. In fact, Islam may buy the naming rights–having already earned tens of millions in the stock market. Islam, who counts famed investor Paul Tudor Jones and the billionaire Koch brothers among his heroes, was just named No. 12 in New York Magazine‘s annual “Reasons to Love New York” issue. The young man doesn’t do it alone–he’s the kingpin of a triumvirate of friends who invest as a sort of high school investment club on steroids. Or as the magazine quotes one of his friends: “Mo’s our maestro.”
It’s some concert he puts on–that maestro Mohammed Islam. (NY Mag estimates his earnings at $72 million.) But the music sounds so sweet now because Islam put in his time, believe it or not. He started trading when he was nine. And he started losing then too. The stock market doesn’t think kids are cute–and it took bite after bite out of Islam’s tutoring money until he learned more strategy. That’s where Tudor Jones comes in–the investor’s stories about his own struggles in the market gave Islam confidence to keep pushing, knowing losses were a necessary pit stop on the drive to success.