Harvard Business School - Finance Club

Co-presidents, Iwan Djanali and Nina George tell us why US equities are the best asset class to invest in at the moment!

Iwan Djanali was a  Senior Consultant at Monitor Group and Nina George was Leadership Committee Member at Aidha Ltd before embarking on an MBA at Harvard Business School in Boston. As co-presidents of the Finance Club, Iwan and Nina tell us about their most exciting speakers - the CEOs of Credit Suisse and JP Morgan Chase - and advise us on the best asset classes to invest in at the moment.

What are your club's big initiatives this year?
We will hold our annual Finance Conference in December this year and it promises to be a much bigger conference than last year’s with several CEOs lined up as potential keynote speakers. (For information on last year’s conference, please visit www.hbsfinanceconference.com).

We will also continue to help organize information sessions and other recruiting-related events for all students interested in careers in finance.

Finally, we have recruited three social chairs, who have planned an exciting series of events which will build a strong community of students interested in careers in finance. Some of the events planned include wine tasting and golf lessons.

Where do you see yourself after you complete your MBA?
Iwan: I am interning in investment banking in New York this summer. If there is mutual interest between the firm and me, I plan to go back after graduation.

Nina: I am also interning in investment banking in New York this summer and intend to go back after graduation if there is mutual interest between the firm and me.

Who was your most exciting speaker this year?
We were fortunate to have many amazing speakers come to campus this past year. Two of the most exciting speakers we had this past year were Brady Dougan, the CEO of Credit Suisse, and Jamie Dimon, the CEO of JPMorgan Chase. They both shared invaluable lessons on managing financial institutions in both good and bad times.

Where are the most exciting jobs in finance right now?
Careers in investment banking, investment management, and private equity continue to be the most popular choices among HBS students interested in finance. There also seems to be a growing interest, both in recruiting and in classrooms, in restructuring. In terms of geography, the emerging markets are gaining more interest among students at HBS.

Are the same numbers of MBAs hoping to land jobs in investment banking compared to five years ago, or do you think interest in this sector has declined?
We have heard from a few recruiters that there are slightly fewer HBS students interested in investment banking this year compared to a few years back. We believe current economic uncertainties and changing financial regulations have played a role in creating a perception among students that career opportunities in investment banking are fewer and not as rewarding as in the past.

This has led to Consulting attracting a majority of the career-switchers who are looking for stable and secure jobs, while the risk-takers are being lured by start-up opportunities.

What is the best asset class to invest in, given the current global situation? (Equities, bonds, commodities, cash, antiques, wines and commercial property?)
Diversification is key, so a portfolio with exposure to multiple asset classes and weightage based on desired risk/return and liquidity characteristics is recommended. That said, if we had to pick one asset class, we would probably go with equities particularly in the U.S., where most companies’ operating earnings have exceeded the peak earnings before the crisis.

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