Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Marquette's AIM Program Has Added a Private Equity & Banking Track

Dr. Krause discusses the AIM program's newest track
It was recently announced by Dr. Mark Eppli, Marquette University’s Interim Keyes Dean of Business Administration, that the Applied Investment Management program is expanding. This is a key part of the Dean's DAY 1 vision which shifts the business curriculum across four years and adds a new freshman DAY 1 business course.  In this interview, Dr. David Krause, Director of the AIM program, discusses the second track which is the first of the new applied business programs planned by the Dean and the College's Executive Council.
Q)  First of all, can you provide some background about the Applied Investment Management program?

David Krause
In 2005, Marquette’s College of Business Administration launched the Applied Investment Management (AIM) program. Since then, over 200 undergraduates have passed through the program which has earned recognition as one of the nation’s top undergraduate programs in applied investment management. In short, the AIM program has allowed a group of undergraduate finance majors to get hands-on academic and security analysis experience, including summer internships and an opportunity to actively manage three equity and fixed-income portfolios throughout their senior year. 

Students have studied from a curriculum that emphasizes the core body of knowledge covered in the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA®) exam – preparing them to take the test upon graduation – and begin a career in the asset management industry. Over 40 students have already passed all three levels of the CFA exam since the program began.

In 2006, the AIM program was selected as the first undergraduate business program to become a Program Partner of the CFA Institute. This coveted partnership designation means that AIM offers a degree program that covers at least 70 percent of the CFA Institute’s Program Candidate Body of Knowledge, including the CFA’s  Ethical and Professional Standards and other requirements.

AIM alumni are working in a variety of positions in the financial services sector around the globe and the program has a perfect career placement record since its inception. The pass rate for AIM students on the challenging Level I CFA exam has averaged nearly 70 percent – while the average global pass rate is only 38 percent. Many AIM alumni have passed all three levels of the CFA exam and have obtained their charters. The AIM program has also won the local CFA Society Investment Research Challenge five of the last six years – and two teams have advanced to the semi-final round of the Americas CFA Research Challenge. In short, the AIM program has achieved considerable success over the past decade. 
Q)  What is the new Private Equity & Banking track?
The AIM program is expanding and will now comprise two tracks: Investments and the newly developed Private Equity & Banking. The Investments track focuses on asset management, while the Private Equity & Banking track concentrates on private and transactional finance.

The expansion of the AIM program is a direct response to the increased interest from employers and Marquette's undergraduate finance students – and it builds off of the College of Business Administration’s expertise in offering applied business education programs. There has also been strong employer demand as more investment funds are being allocated into the private equity space.

This new track will bridge connections among the College of Business Administration’s constituents including its growing finance alumni network, firms in the financial services sector and the currently enrolled students. It will especially address the needs of employers, including bulge and middle market investment banks; commercial and industrial lenders; privately-held companies; and private equity firms.

More students will now have the opportunity to receive AIM’s rigorous education and career preparation, benefit from new internship experiences, and achieve broader career opportunities. It also fits well with the new vision advanced by the College of Business Administration.
Q)  What are some of the elements that will distinguish the Private Equity & Banking track from the Investments track?
Similar to the Investments track, AIM students in the Private Equity & Banking track will study a rigorous core body of knowledge, but one that has an increased focus on private and transactional finance. Hallmarks of the Private Equity & Banking track include three required courses that are not a part of the Investments core curriculum: Investment Banking, Applied Financial Modeling, and Private Equity. The last two courses being brand new offerings that will offered in the 2015 spring semester.

AIM Research Room

The primary goal of the AIM program remains committed to providing students with unique real-life learning experiences that will reinforce the core skills developed through their academic work. Students in the new AIM track will receive:
  • An applied undergraduate education that will enhance their understanding of the private equity, investment banking and corporate finance sectors;
  • Training in financial modeling;
  • Opportunities to learn from, and network with, local financial services professionals and the University’s growing alumni base;
  • Internship and job search support, including recruiting opportunities, mock interviews, and help with cover letters, resumes, work samples, and communication strategies; and    
  • A leading-edge curriculum based on elements from the Chartered Financial Analyst, Certified Private Equity Professional (CPEP), and Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA) core body of knowledge.  

Mark Zellmer
Q)  If the program is expanding will there be any new staff to support the AIM program?
 Dr. David Krause, the inaugural director of the AIM program, remains responsible for the administration of the program and curriculum. He is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Finance and has been the primary instructor of the AIM courses since the program’s inception in 2005. He has taught all four of the AIM courses that are included in the Investments track curriculum and will remain focused on asset management.
It was recently announced by the Dean of the College of Business Administration that Mark Zellmer will be joining the AIM program on a part-time basis as the co-director of the Private Equity & Banking track. A Marquette undergraduate and MBA alumnus, Zellmer has been a popular adjunct instructor since the mid-1990’s. As the chairman and majority shareholder of Northern Oak Wealth Management, he has extensive expertise in financing and investing in privately held companies. He will teach the courses in the new track and offer advice to students about related internships and career opportunities. Mr. Zellmer will work closely with Dr. Krause on the program's numerous applied learning components, including internships, career development, alumni mentorships, industry networking, and the oversight of student clubs.
The AIM program has also received instructional support from other finance faculty, including Dr. Sarah Peck, who previously taught the Investment Ethics course. Current and former adjunct finance faculty who have provided teaching support at the graduate and undergraduate levels include: Mark Zellmer, Chris Zuzic, Jeff DeAngelis, Chris Swain, Tom Digenan, Bill Walker, Chris Merker, Tom Eck, Mike Blonski, Dan Geigler, Jim Fitzpatrick, and Frank Esposito – with most of them being Marquette alumnus and prominent investment professionals.
Q)  How does the expanded program fit the mission and strategic goals of university and college?
The new track seeks to strengthen and advance the University’s mission in the search for truth, the discovery and sharing of knowledge, the fostering of personal and professional excellence, the promotion of a life of faith, and the development of leadership expressed in service to others.  
The new track also strives to support the College’s mission of providing innovative applied learning experiences and to serve as a valued resource for business and societal. We seek to apply Ignatian pedagogy, which encourages the faculty and students to consider the “context” of the subject matter and how it relates to and is impacted by society trends, economics, political structure, and global and local issues. We wish for our graduates to be able to analyze, decide, integrate and lead in the 21st Century.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Tips to Help College Students Land Their First Finance Job

Believe it or not --- recruiting season is fast approaching for seniors.

The future this fall is brightest for college students majoring in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM); however, those with strong finance skills will also find a strong job market. But just because you have a four-year degree in business administration with a finance degree (or go through the AIM program) does not mean you will get your dream job.

So what can upcoming college graduates do to boost their chances of getting their dream entry-level job in finance (asset management, private equity, investment banking, etc.)? Here are some tips for how to increase the odds of landing your dream entry-level finance job.
1. Know what you are good at -- and if you want to be a research analyst, consultant or banker. You should choose early on if you want to specialize in a certain segment or if you want to be more of a generalist. For example, if you are interested in research, then focus on accounting and Excel skills – whereas if you are considering becoming a banker you need to focus on corporate finance and transactional skills. So before you start applying for jobs, you need to know about the different options and career paths available and apply for positions best suited to your interests and talents.

2. Learn everything you can about the company and position you are applying/interviewing for, before you apply or interview there. You need to do research and familiarize yourself with the company. Have they been in the news lately? What stories have been written about them in Bloomberg? Then in your cover letter or during the interview you can note your interest in the company and why you would want to work for the firm. You want to be confidence walking into the interview with a deep understanding of what the company does; go deep.  Show that you're well-versed on the company and its offerings, come up a good question about the company or the industry. Also, always send a follow-up email, but try to add value and personalize it rather than just to check in on the interviewing process.

3. Know or learn the right financial skills. Make sure you are concentrating on highlighting your current and marketable skills. Commonly sought skills include Excel modeling, data collection and analysis, and understanding database and financial software (Bloomberg, Thomson, FactSet, Morningstar, etc.). You need to match your skills specifically with what employers are looking for so that you will have an easier time gaining employment.

4. Fine tune your "soft" skills. These are the nontechnical, interpersonal skills, like effective communication, strong teamwork, leadership, problem solving and negotiation skills. It's these soft skills that will make you more employable and well- rounded to a potential employer. Identify the skills where you may not be strongest and focus on improving them. The best way to do this is with practice – and network as much as possible and take as many interviewing opportunities as you can.

5.  Gain practical experience. One of the best ways for college seniors to improve their job prospects is by building relevant experience with an internship or mentorship. These help you develop and demonstrate the specific skills employers are demanding, and serve as key stepping stones to full-time employment. This is especially true in investment banking and asset management."

6. Talk about your projects and knowledge. During interviews you want to set yourself apart from others with a sample of your work, whether it is from an internship or a class project. Recruiters want examples of your knowledge so provide them with a sample of your writing and research abilities. Be sure to have a professional LinkedIn profile, so prospective employers can easily find you -- and you can find and network with prospective employers.

7. Network, network, network. Students need to create a strong network of affiliations, including classmates, faculty, alumni and professionals in your discipline. Belong to student clubs and attend meetings held by professional organizations, such as CFA Society. These meetings are a terrific way to network with people in your field and learn about potential positions. Find a mentor who is knowledgeable in the field of study you wish to pursue – they can help you in countless ways.

8. Participate in local industry events, like CFA luncheons, forums and competitions. Don’t miss opportunities to attend professional events in order to learn more and network with people working in the finance industry.

9. Tailor your resume to each position -- and avoid jargon and simply listing keywords. You need to develop a resume that reflects the finance professional you want to be by detailing every research project or investment analysis you've completed or been a part of, regardless of its size or scope. 

10. Don't just apply to the Wall Street firms. Don't be afraid to make your search wide-ranging, not only geographically but in the areas of finance you might like to work on. Look for companies in different parts of the industry – you might find excellent entry level financial research positions in IT, manufacturing, healthcare, and retail.

11. Know your interviewer. Prior to an interview, try to learn with whom you will be meeting and use LinkedIn and the internet to learn as much as you can about them. This shows initiative and provides an opportunity to identify similarities you might share with your interviewer. The most positive feedback from an interviewer comes when a candidate is able to make a personal connection.

12. Finally, be real about your salary expectation. You need to be realistic and don't expect that you are going to get $100K+ the first year! Show an eagerness to work in the industry and the rewards will come to you based on your success and long-run contributions to the firm.

And enjoy the rest of summer and best of luck in your job search this fall!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

An All-Star Line-up of Presenters - Check it out

BOND WEEK! The Bond Trifecta


Bucks and Bonds - Marc Lasry
Co-Owner Milwaukee Bucks & Chairman, Co-Founder Avenue Capital Group
Monday, June 23, 9:30 am at the Wisconsin Club
Bonds, Bonds and More Bonds - Jeff Sherman, CFA
Portfolio Manager, DoubleLine Capital
Wednesday, June 25, 12:00 pm at the Milwaukee Athletic Club
Brewers and Bonds - Mark Attanasio
Co-Owner Milwaukee Brewers & Co-Founder Crescent Capital Group
Friday, June 27, 12:00 pm at the Wisconsin Club
(Details on these meetings are provided below) 
               Brewer Logo  
CFA Society of Milwaukee has secured three of the biggest presenters to ever come before our organization...and they will all appear in a single week - Bond Week!  In light of the quality of this programming, we've secured large venues, obtained enthusiastic sponsors from our community, and will be inviting others from the Milwaukee professional community to the meetings, as well as your guests.  CFA Society of Milwaukee has also enlisted our Society-supported partners, UW - Milwaukee, Marquette University, and Make A Difference Wisconsin, to ensure successful events.
Please join us for at least one if not all three events.  Bring co-workers, clients, friends, family and others who may be interested.  Even if you can't attend, please pass along the invite to others.  These high-profile names are worthy of a large audience, which will attract greater programming opportunities in the future.  A version of this event announcement that is more appropriate for non-Society members is attached - to view a copy click here!
Surveys of our membership have identified "growing recognition of the CFA Charter" as one of the highest priorities.  Bond Week! will be presented as an Investors 1st event - our public outreach arm.  We will take two minutes at the beginning of each meeting to highlight the value of CFA Charterholders to investors.  The public should know who CFAs are and why we should be involved in their investments.  Help us deliver a large turnout for these events.
Despite larger than normal venues, we anticipate that these meetings will sell out. CFA Society of Milwaukee members have a very brief advance notice of these meetings...beginning tomorrow, they will be open to the public. Sign up today - DO NOT WAIT. 
Bucks and Bonds with Marc Lasry - Monday, June 23rd 9:30 am at the Wisconsin Club - Continental Breakfast - $20 for all attendees - Register Here
Bonds, Bonds, and More Bonds with Jeff Sherman - Wed., June 25th 12:00 pm at the Milwaukee Athletic Club - Lunch - Free for CFA Society of Milwaukee Members, $20 for others - This event is free to Society Members as our optional Annual Meeting will immediately follow the presentation - Register Here
Brewers and Bonds with Mark Attanasio - Friday, June 27th 12:00 pm at the Wisconsin Club - Lunch - $20 for all attendees - Register Here
Bucks and Bonds - Marc Lasry
Monday, June 23, 9:30 am at the Wisconsin Club
The Milwaukee Bucks were purchased by a group led by Marc Lasry and Wesley Edens two weeks ago.  We are pleased to have Mr. Lasry speaking to CFA Society of Milwaukee about investing in an NBA team and the career that positioned him to make this large investment.  He will share his market outlook as an expert in distressed asset investing as Chairman of Avenue Capital Group.
Mr. Lasry, born in Morocco, emigrated to the U.S. with his family when he was seven years old.  His father was a computer programmer and his mother a schoolteacher.  After growing up in West Hartford, Connecticut, he earned a B.A. in History from Clark University and a J. D. from New York Law School.  He clerked for the Honorable Edward Ryan, former Chief Bankruptcy Judge of the Southern District of New York and then turned to the investments world, where he has spent 30 years investing in distressed assets.  He co-founded the hedge fund Avenue Capital Group with his sister Sonia in 1995.  Avenue Capital manages over $12 billion of assets.
Bonds, Bonds and More Bonds - Jeff Sherman, CFA
Wednesday, June 25, 12:00 pm at the Milwaukee Athletic Club
Bonds have provided strong returns since the financial crisis in 2008.  After a long, strong run, what's next?  Jeff Sherman, CFA and member of the CFA Society of Los Angeles, will talk about how we got here, where we are today, and what the future holds for bond investors.  Mr. Sherman is a highly engaging speaker who will identify economic, political, and demographic trends impacting the outlook for bonds.  In addition, we he'll likely touch on timely topics such as "Is the Chinese yuan moving toward reserve status and what impact would that have?"
With interest rates at historically low levels and Europe introducing negative interest rates in the last week, this should be a very timely presentation.  Whether you are a bond professional or simply a curious investor, you'll find his presentation insightful and enlightening. 
Jeff holds a B.S. in Applied Mathematics from the University of the Pacific and a M.S. in Financial Engineering from the Claremont Graduate University.  He is a CFA charterholder.  He joined DoubleLine in 2009 and is a portfolio manager utilizing derivative-based and multi-asset strategies.  He is also a member of the firm's Fixed Income Asset Allocation Committee.  Mr. Sherman works closely with the firm's founder and Chairman, Jeffery Gundlach.  DoubleLine is a high-performing fixed income manager investing approximately $50 billion of assets.
Following this presentation, we will hold a brief Annual Meeting for CFA Society of Milwaukee members who would like to stay.
Brewers and Bonds - Mark Attanasio
Friday, June 27, 12:00 pm at the Wisconsin Club
Brewer Logo          
Ten years ago, Mark Attanasio and his investment group purchased the Milwaukee Brewers.  While the team had a wonderful new stadium, many of its seats went empty following a streak of 12 losing seasons.  Today, the team has one of the leading records in Major League Baseball.  Mr. Attanasio will talk about his investment in the team, changes that have brought success to the team, MLB as an alternative investment, and the career that positioned him to and prepared him for investing in a baseball team.  Mr. Attanasio will discuss his outlook as a co-founder and Managing Partner of Crescent Capital Group an investment firm with over $10 billion of assets.
Mr. Attanasio grew up in the Bronx and New Jersey and received a B.A. from Brown University and a J.D. from Columbia Law School.  A life-long love for baseball ultimately led to his purchase of the Brewer's controlling interest.  He is also a part-owner of the Milwaukee Admirals and currently lives in Los Angeles...when he's not in Milwaukee.
CFA Society of Milwaukee thanks and is proud to have the following organizations as sponsors of Bond Week!:
The following organizations are partners for these events: Make A Difference Wisconsin, Marquette University, and University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee's Lubar School of Business.
Bond Week! is an Investors 1st event.  Investors 1st , a project of CFA Society of Milwaukee, provides events, information, and other resources to the public.  We are pleased to present Bond Week! to the greater Milwaukee community as a part of our mission to contribute to a growing awareness and understanding of investments. 

Friday, June 6, 2014

Krause's Belmont Picks

I'm sorry to say that California Chrome will not be the next Triple Crown winner. He has had impressive wins thus far in the Derby and Preakness; however, he will not be the 12th horse to enter the elite group of Thoroughbred champions (i.e. Citation, Secretariat, Seattle Slew, Affirmed, etc.). Why? Because he is only a good horse, not a great one. #5 Ride on Curlin, #8 Commissioner, or #9 Wicked Strong could finish ahead of him.

Best of the Field (#2 California Chrome, odds: 3:5). I would be delighted if Victor Espinoza (jockey) and Art Sherman (trainer) were in the winner's circle on Saturday. This has been a great story and California Chrome has met or exceeded everyone's expectations. The problem will come with the 1 1/2 mile distance and the zany New York crowd - the place will be loud and crazy. He will finish in the money, but the odds are horrible and the winning ticket, if you have one, will probably be worth more as a collector's item if he wins. Good luck.

Best Value Pick (#5 Ride on Curlin, odds 12:1). John Velazquez will be the third jockey to ride this horse in the Triple Crown, which is odd. Velazquez is a fine jockey and Ride on Curlin has run well this week in practice. He was a solid second in the Preakness - and although he might be a bit tired - so is California Chrome. The odds are very good for #5 and this could be a good payout. He will likely be in the money and could be the answer to a trivia question about who beat California Chrome in the Belmont.

Long Shot (#8 Commissioner, odds 20:1).  I like this horse. His pedigree includes Northern Dancer, Bold Ruler and  A.P. Indy, some of my favorite horses - and Todd Pletcher is the trainer. He's really good. Although his record looks weak, he was second in the Peter Pan, which was run at Belmont, and the jockey (Javier Castellano) is a proven winner. The owners want to win the Belmont and have talked about this since January. The odds are very attractive and this could be another long-shot Belmont winner.

Betting: You should include #2, #5 and #8 in your exotics. The best bet of the day will be the Win/Place/Show on #5 (Ride on Curlin). Good luck and I hope California Chrome wins, but don't bet on it...