The Co-Chairs’ of Dartmouth College: Tuck's Investment Club, including Michaela Leblanc, explain why gaining an MBA suited their career choices. They also give us inside knowledge on where we should be investing our money.
Why did you decide to pursue an MBA?
Michaela: I was working on the sell-side in institutional equity sales and wanted to do more fundamental work on companies. I was a liberal arts major at undergrad, so I thought an MBA would be a logical step to broaden my skill set and facilitate the transition to investment management.
Dan: Before Tuck I was working in sell-side mergers and acquisitions and wanted to do more investment related research. By pursuing an MBA I believed I could expand my skill-set and advance my transition into investment management.
Konstantin: Prior to Tuck I was working in the insurance industry, but I discovered a passion for investments and fundamental research. I felt that getting an MBA would be the best way for me to gain the knowledge and skills necessary to facilitate a career switch.
Rance: I was working in corporate financial planning and analysis, and wanted to explore a wide range of investment approaches full-time before making a career shift into investment management. The MBA would allow me to take the company analysis I was already doing on my own and look at it within the framework of investment theory.
What are your club's main aims this year?
The Tuck Investment Club serves the student body on two fronts: first, we ensure that students are aware of investment-related careers and are prepared for their interviews. Second, we work to create opportunities at Tuck to expose more students to investment management through alumni visits, a portfolio competition, stock pitches and treks to visit buy side firms.
This year we sent students to a diverse range of competitions and conferences, from UNC’s Alpha Challenge, Cornell’s MBA Stock Pitch Challenge, and UCLA’s MBA Stock Pitch Competition to the Morgan Stanley Sustainable Investing Challenge, the Sohn Conference and the Value Investing Congress.
One of our main teaching assets for investment management at Tuck is Tuck Asset Management (TAM), our student-directed investment fund. TAM has both a long and short, and a long-focused fund, which allows students to develop hands-on experience with portfolio management, trade ideas and risk controls. Our alumnae mentor for TAM is a director of research at a globally recognized hedge fund.
Where are the most exciting jobs in finance right now?
While anything related to private equity is very popular on campus, we think that opportunities on the buy-side, especially at mid-size multi-strategy hedge funds, are very exciting.
Have MBA’s interests in investment banking declined over the past 10 years?
Based on early interaction with the admitted Tuck 2016 class through our Finance Club, we have already met a group of incoming students passionate about working in investment banking and more broadly in financial services.
Incoming students cite interest in building a strong finance skill-set and getting transaction experience as reasons why they are interested in banking. Tuck also has a group of committed students who are focused on investment management, and this summer we have interns headed for a range of firms – from GE Capital, Putnam and Vanguard to sell-side research and hedge funds.
Do you think the average man in the street will ever understand the function and the value of anyone involved in the financial markets?
Michaela: While there have undoubtedly been headlines in the popular media since the financial crisis that have portrayed the financial services industry in a negative light, I think a surprising number of people grasp the importance of well-functioning capital markets.
Every small business owner who applies for a loan or future homeowner who seeks a mortgage is a market participant, and benefits from liquidity provided by financial institutions.
Konstantin: The financial market encompasses a broad array of roles, and the functions of some of them are rather opaque. But consider long-only buy side firms that offer mutual funds: while the methods, mechanics, and semantics may seem strange, the purpose is clear: select investments for the customer that will appreciate in value.
Anyone who has purchased or even considered purchasing a share of stock will understand this objective.
What is the best asset class to invest in the current global situation? (Equities, bonds, commodities, cash, antiques, wines or commercial property?)
The Tuck Wine Club would probably object, but we believe there are select opportunities in the equity market - especially in international markets - in the coming year.