Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Bob Organ of Northwestern Mutual Capital visited the AIM Program on Wednesday, 9/ 13/2017

Robert Organ, Director of  Private Debt & Equity of Northwestern Mutual Capital visited the AIM program.

Bob Organ of  Northwestern Mutual Capital in the AIM Room
Northwestern Mutual Capital (NMC) is a key part of the firm’s overall investment portfolio. While NMC’s investment-grade assets represent the majority of their total Assets under Management (AUM); it is the private equity assets that generally occupies the majority of NMC’s evaluation time.  

Bob Organ made his fourth visit to the AIM classroom – it should be noted that NMC’s portion of the firm’s overall assets is roughly equivalent to Harvard University’s endowment. Additionally, Northwestern Mutual’s total assets are more than half of CalPERS, the nation’s largest pension fund.

Mr. Organ joined Northwestern Mutual Capital in 1997. Prior to joining Northwestern Mutual Capital, he was a consultant for Hewitt Associates. Bob received an MBA from Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management and a BS from Marquette University. Bob is a CFA charterholder.

Mr. Organ’s presentation focused on disruptive technology. Dr. Krause, AIM director said, “Mr. Organ provided the AIM students with an excellent introduction to the fast-changing world of technology. He gave them a lot to consider – for example, they should think about the how nearly every business should be viewed as a technology business – and to consider how algorithms and machine learning are increasingly guiding nearly every function in the modern enterprise.”
Bob Organ and David Krause

Using numerous examples of how technology has disrupted industries and companies (i.e. Kodak, taxi, research, retailing, etc.), he was able to help students think within a framework about how to view technological disruption. 

Identifying inflection points (‘knees of the curve’) is essential for analysts…. Looking around corners and thinking about how major industries might be transformed (i.e. taxis vs. Uber) is a vital skill for the young analysts to develop.

Dr. Krause commented, “I love to bring Bob into the classroom early in the semester because he stimulates creative and critical thinking. He challenges and pushes students to think about the change around us and how to evaluate in advance who is likely to thrive or fail. The discussion about quantum computing was especially intriguing. Students asked great questions and began to see more of the global trends related to technology – and he helps to force students to think about the future and to assess how the investment process will continue to evolve. Over the years Bob has helped me create an assignment that requires the students to identify a disruptor within their sector and to evaluate how existing holdings in the AIM fund might be helped or hindered by disruptors within their industries. It was a pleasure having him back on campus.”