Last weekend I had the pleasure of attending Mark Minervini’s Master Trader Workshop in Myrtle Beach, SC. The workshop was live, taking place on both Saturday and Sunday, and included special guest David Ryan.
The primary goal of the workshop was to break down Mark’s personal approach to the market, starting from a broad scope and by the end focusing on the intricate details. Also covered were different skills of trading including position management, psychology, and a very detailed breakdown of risk management.
To achieve what Mark calls “super performance”, practice, discipline, and a very honed strategy is required. Learning this from two proven traders live with over 60 years experience combined is the primary sell point of the workshop.
Before getting into the review, it should be noted that since three StockTrader.com readers signed up to attend the workshop with our $1000 off exclusive offer, I was invited to attend the workshop for free (less my own travel and hotel costs) so I could write this review. Regardless, like all reviews on this site, this review is 100% my personal opinion.
Mark Minervini and David Ryan
Mark Minervini, author of Trade Like a Stock Market Wizard is a 30 year+ investing guru who won the U.S. Investing Championship in 1997 with a 155% return. His personal SEPA methodology is his secret sauce and is broken down at the workshop. You can read his full bio on his website. We also reviewed the top 20 stock trading books.
David Ryan is a 40 year+ guru who also has won the U.S. Investing Championship, three times in fact. He is a protégé of William O’Neil (CANSLIM trading) and actually ran a fund with O’Neil in the 90s. He’s mentioned in not only O’Neil’s infamous book, How to Make Money in Stocks but also in Market Wizards – Interviews with Top Traders by Jack Schwager.
Both Mark and David Ryan are believers in the CANSLIM philosophy and together were a very effective duo. Originally I thought that David Ryan was simply doing a guest presentation. Instead, both Mark and David had separate podiums and David Ryan was a part of the full workshop (Left to right: David Ryan, Myself, Mark Minervini).
The workshop certainly was not cheap by any means, with tickets selling for between $4,000 and $5,000 each. Spread over the weekend, Friday night there was a meet and greet to get to know the other attendees alongside meet Mark and David. Saturday and Sunday were then spent focused on learning with two course workbooks (one for each day) serving as the guide.
The first workbook was 192 pages and the second was 126 pages. And yes, every page was gone through during the workshop. Every single one.
Saturday was a full day, starting at 8:00 AM for breakfast. There was a break for lunch alongside mini breaks every few hours to stretch, go to the bathroom, etc. Saturday wrapped up after 7:00 PM. Sunday on the other hand kicked off at 7:30 AM for breakfast and didn’t wrap up until after 4:00 PM.
The setup was effective in that Mark was on one side of the stage, and David was on the other. The two complemented each extremely well. In fact, the value of having both together was immense, especially when reviewing past charts and trades.
Content breakdown: Day 1
Mark sets up the workshop to start with a wide scope that is focused as the workshop goes on. Those familiar with the CANSLIM style of investing will feel at home as both Mark and David apply CANSLIM philosophies.
Right out of the gate it was nice to hear some perspective on where Mark and David came from. Mark had his initial inspiration attending one of David Ryan’s seminars, and David Ryan shared a great story of how early on he doubled his portfolio then gave it all back (and then some) the very next year.
The first half of day 1 was spent on primarily discussing core concepts that are introduced in Mark’s book, Trade Like a Stock Market Wizard, including SEPA (Specific Entry Point Analysis), identifying solid companies, trading with the trend, screening, and identifying entry points, among others.
The back half of day 1 then went into setups and the nitty gritty, using charts from both the past and present to illustrate winners and break down what made them successful. This included important concepts of what to look for in the charts themselves, something David made extra impactful with his vast experience in analyzing volume patterns and trends.
What is nice about Mark’s strategy is that it is very honed and specific. The examples provided were clean, easy to grasp, and included a strong balance of both past and present, illustrating how history does in fact repeat itself.
Day 1 wrapped up with questions and answers – with all being answered – which was a nice benefit of being one of only roughly 50 attendees.
Overall, while it could be said that the first day was a wash because most of the material was from Mark’s book, I found the 1st day to be extremely beneficial anyway. This is primarily because of David Ryan sharing his wisdom throughout the day (I had several pages of notes from his comments alone) and Mark’s ability to keep reiterating important concepts and share knowledge only years of trial and error can provide.
Content breakdown: Day 2
After a long day 1, day 2 jumped right into several specific trading techniques then transitioned into Mark and David’s daily routines. This was a particularly beneficial exercise as I could immediately relate it to my own routine and identify area for improvement.
From here the day went into arguably the most valuable section of the whole workshop, risk management. I have to restrain myself since this is already a lengthy review, but the risk management section was extremely impactful. The law of numbers… investor psyche… position sizing… honed techniques… the list goes on and on.
After several solid hours spent on risk management, Mark and David lead into assessing the overall market alongside identifying when stocks are topping and how to manage. These were mostly core concepts that stem from CANSLIM principles and are illustrated in William O’Neils famous How to Make Money in Stocks.
Unfortunately I can’t comment on the remainder of the workshop on this day, including the final Q & A alongside wrap up notes as I had to leave early to catch my flight back home.
However, during our lunch break on this day I did get a great picture with Mark and the three StockTrader.com readers who attended. Left to right: Michael P., myself, Mark Minervini, Eduardo S., Ajay A.
Caveats to keep in mind
First, Mark Minervini, like Dan Zanger, both offer claims to fame that date back to the dotcom boom of the late 90s. Neither has published audited track records of any portfolio returns since the 90s.
Second, looking at Mark Minervini’s Premium Subscription service, Minervini Private Access, also throws several cautionary flags. Despite my attendance and request to test the Private Access service, I was never granted access to do so. The service is extremely expensive, and the site makes it very clear,
“NO REFUNDS ARE PROVIDED and there are no pro-rated unused refunds available. ALL SALES ARE FINAL – NO EXCEPTIONS.”
This reveals several legitimate questions that investors should ask themselves:
- Why not publish audited returns for the years since the dotcom boom?
- If the monthly service is so exceptional, why not offer a free two week trial?
- Given the above two facts, are the strategies taught at the Workshop even viable for today’s market?
I always go through this exercise with stock trading picking services, because you truly never know. Running some simple back of the napkin math will reveal that even one Workshop of 50 participants will offer a nice salary for the year, and that doesn’t even include the Private Access service which offers no refunds.
For more on this topic, see my post why I quit day trading.
All in all, I was extremely impressed with Mark’s yearly Master Trader Workshop. To have David Ryan as a core part of it really took the whole workshop to the next level. I really hope he returns next year.
Reading Mark’s book is one thing, but meeting and learning from him in person with David Ryan, two market veterans who have walked the walk and proven themselves successful, is a completely different animal.
Like Dan Zanger’s seminar, there is something special about learning live. The wisdom, thought process, and little tidbits can be immensely valuable if applied correctly.
If you are curious about Mark’s work and learning more about his investment philosophy, definitely start with purchasing his book and investing the $16.99 (kindle edition) in that. From there, you can decide whether or not the workshop is right for you.
So Blain, is the workshop worth the money?
According to StockTrader.com readers that attended, yes.
Since I was able to attend with no admission cost, earlier this week I asked all three StockTrader.com subscribers to share their overall opinion on the workshop and see what they thought. Two of them got back to me (Michael and Eduardo) prior to this review being completed, and both agreed their money was well spent.
“Would I recommend it to others? Definitely YES. I believe that I got a lot of value for all the money spent.” -Eduardo
“Overall it was an all-encompassing experience that just goes to show the lengths that you have to go to in order to derive super-performance from the stock market.” -Michael
From what I observed, I feel that to maximize what Mark and David have to offer, coming to the workshop with established trading experience (the more the better) is crucial.
In trading, or any ultra competitive industry, experience and attention to detail can really make or break you.
Ultimately, we all want to be successful in the market. Mark Minervini’s workshop, or any workshop, will never in itself hold the secret to success. If there is one key to achieving what Mark calls “super performance”, it is that practice makes perfect. Nothing in the end can make up for hard work and putting in the time to achieve your goals.