Saturday, April 2, 2011

AIM Students Visited Mason Street Advisors on Friday, April 1

On Friday, April 1st, 24 students in the AIM program joined Dr. David Krause in visiting Mason Street Advisors, a wholly owned subsidiary of Northwestern Mutual located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Dr. Krause, AIM program director said, "This was the third year that we have travelled to Mason Street for a visit. We try to arrange it so that we are there on the first Friday of the month in order to observe their morning meeting and to watch the financial markets respond as the U.S. employment numbers are released."

The field trip provided the newest group of students in the AIM program - the Class of 2012 - an opportunity to meet Mason Street Advisor’s equity and fixed income professionals in the workplace. Krause added, "It was an excellent visit because it gave our students the ability to observe what the 'real world' of investment management looks like - I know many of them were highly impressed with the collegial, professional environment at Mason Street."

The day started earlier than normal for most of the AIM students - especailly for a Friday morning; however, by 7:00 am all of the students were in the lobby of Mason Street and ready for the event to begin. Christi Kubiak, Director of Corporate Bonds Credit Research, organized the event with Dr. Krause. She met with the students and explained the morning agenda which included the following:

7:10 – Welcome & Tour of Trading Desk
7:25 – Discussion Payroll Data Expectations
7:30 – Observation of Payroll Data and Discussion of the Impact on the Financial Markets       
7:35 – Observe Morning Investment Meeting
7:45 – Breakfast and Mason Street Presentation
8:15 – Informal Breakout Sessions
8:45 – Adjourn and Networking Opportunity

"The visit to Mason Street Advisors was the first trip away from campus for the students in the AIM Class of 2012," Dr. Krause stated. "We try to get into as many investment companies in the community as possible. I think that these trips really help our students put the AIM curriculum into context. They are great learning experiences and when we are in the classroom we are able to refer back to what we observed during our field trips and road shows."

Mason Street's Jeff DeAngelis
During the morning meeting and the presentation that followed, the students had an opportunity to meet with many of the professionals at Mason Street. Dr. Krause added, "We have established a wonderful relationship with Mason Street / Northwestern Mutual over the years. The Mason Street - Marquette connection is very solid and we have numerous alumni working at the firm including: Jeff DeAngelis, Mary Linehan, Chris Swain, Bill Walker, Quinn Noel, Ramona Rogers-Windsor, Tim Brown, Steve Arthur, Ray Auth, Zach Bloom, Amie Hahn, and Kristin Holzhauer." Dr. Krause noted that Ray, Zach, Amie, and Kristin are alumni of the AIM program.

Bronson Wetsch, an AIM student in the junior class said, "It was interesting being at Mason Street Advisors during the time that the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released the March unemployment rate and other jobs-related data. During the visit it was possible to see how the concepts we are learning in the AIM program are applied in the investment industry. I believe that it was a very useful visit for everyone in the program."

"The students had a unique opportunity to be a 'fly on the wall' and observe Mason Street's morning investment meeting," Dr. Krause continued. "It was interesting to watch how the investment professionals interpret the news and adjust their strategies." 

Northwestern Mutual is one of the largest insurance companies in the world with over $180 billion in assets. NML oversees 10% of the total U.S. direct life insurance market. The firm ranks 115 on the 2010 Fortune 500 list. The firm's total investment portfolio includes nearly $160 billion in fixed income assets. Northwestern Mutual / Mason Street Advisors has earned the best possible rating for insurance financial strength from all four major rating agencies (S&P AAA, Moody's Aaa, Fitch AAA, and A.M Best A++).  

"We really appreciate the effort that Christi Kubiak put into the arranging the event," Krause said. "In addition to Christi and everyone else listed above, we would like to thank Leah Westfall, Brian Yeazel, Dennis Korjenek, and their colleagues at Mason Street Advisors for making this visit possible.  The students greatly appreciated the opportunity to visit," Dr. Krause added. "We have had numerous AIM students intern and eventually go to work for Mason Street - and that's a trend we'd like to maintain."

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