Return on Investment: student managed investment fund experience leads to professional position
The investment management skills Brad Garrigues FIN ’16 developed after a full year working with Oakland University’s new $2 million Student Managed Investment Fund (SMIF) not only gave him real-world investing experience, it also helped him land a professional position with The Kresge Foundation.
Finding and cultivating the best talent were twin goals of The Kresge Foundation when it partnered with OU last fall to power the SMIF. In addition to giving OU business students hands-on portfolio investment experience, Kresge Chief Investment Officer and OU Finance alum Rob Manilla hoped the program would help develop a pipeline of local, talented financial minds prepared for employment opportunities at the foundation and with other employers in southeast Michigan.
Garrigues was one of the first students to take part in the new program. He was drawn to the class in part because of Kresge’s participation, which opened his eyes to the broad range of organizations that rely upon sound investment strategies for growth. “Many of those organizations are close to home and to OU,” he says. “I realized you don’t have to go to New York or Chicago to get this experience.”
He immediately found satisfaction in identifying different elements that add up to portfolio growth. He returned as senior portfolio analyst in the winter semester, building on his experiences and mentoring the new student analysts.
“There are a ton of factors involved (in building a successful portfolio),” Garrigues says. “That’s what I like about analyzing stocks. There are so many different methods for evaluating stocks and it’s changing all the time.”
Support and guidance
Students in the SMIF relied on a community of experts to guide them through the complexities of evaluating and growing their portfolio.
OU Finance Professor Ranadeb Chaudhuri, PhD, leads the course and provides insight into security analysis techniques and investment approaches used by professional investors. Chaudhuri describes the pace of the course as “exciting, exhilarating and exhausting,” adding that the “students fully immersed themselves in learning the intricacies of portfolio management.”
Guidance from the SMIF’s Advisory Board further connects students to the real world. Experts from top-level finance and investment companies serve as a sounding board to review, challenge and fine-tune the students’ portfolio recommendations. Advisory board members also supplement the class curriculum as guest lecturers and share their personal experiences in the asset management profession.
None of it could happen without Kresge’s financial support, which enabled the fund and and assisted the development of a curriculum designed to teach business students the essentials of portfolio management, stock selection and portfolio evaluation.
Immersed in the professional environment
Thanks to the generosity of an anonymous donor, the SMIF students took part in the Quinnipiac GAME Conference in New York last spring, where they heard from some of the country’s top financial investment minds.
Returning to OU, Garrigues and his classmates realized just how much the university’s trading floor and data analysis lab mirrors facilities at the nation’s leading investment banks and brokerages. The lab offers a real-time stock ticker, as well as two large screen plasma displays that provide a continuous flow of stock information. It also includes ten dual-screen computers featuring Bloomberg Professional access for market data analysis.
From education to experience
The intense experience paid off when Kresge leaders took notice of Garrigues’ skills and offered him a full-time investment analyst position to begin after he graduated.
“Brad was selected out of a candidate pool of 260 applicants, including finalists from across the country,” says Manilla. “Our opportunity to see him during the Student Investment Fund presentations was a wonderful chance to assess his skills in real time. He was knowledgeable, confident and well prepared. We are excited to have him join us.”
In his new role, Garrigues will be contributing his talents to growing the foundation’s $3.6 billion endowment, which enables the foundation to provide the grant and social investment resources necessary for Kresge to further its mission of expanding opportunities in America’s cities.
“It’s great to work for a company so involved in Detroit, in the arts and in culture,” says Garrigues. “It feels good to be part of an organization that has such a reputation for helping others.”
Photo at right: Brad is welcomed to the Kresge team by Rob Manilla.