The focus of this week’s column in the Trivia Tuesday series, in which we cover the unique program elements that differentiate the leading MBA programs from their peers, is the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin. Today we’re sharing a passage from the Clear Admit School Guide to McCombs that describes the school’s AIM Investment Center.
“The AIM Investment Center, created by an endowment provided by AIM Management Group co-founders Gary Crum and Bob Graham, provides students with the resources to gain an experiential perspective on investment management. The center’s EDS Financial Trading and Technology Center, founded by former dean George Gau and sponso
red by technology services company Electronic Data Systems, includes an accurate recreation of a Wall Street trading room complete with real-time stock quotes and cutting-edge telecommunications systems – a resource which enables finance professors to incorporate the latest technology into their courses. The center also provides office space for the members of the MBA Investment Fund to manage their three multi-million-dollar investment portfolios.
“Run out of the AIM Investment Center, the MBA Investment Fund was the first legally constituted, student-managed private investment fund to be established at any business school. The limited liability company, founded in 1994 by George W. Gau, has a clientele of over 60 investors and, as of September 2008, had increased its initial $1.6 million investment to over $13.5 million, and the fund presently has $15.3 million under management. The fund provides three investment products: an endowment portfolio, a growth-oriented equity portfolio and a value-oriented equity portfolio. The growth- and value-oriented portfolios are geared toward benefiting individual and corporate clients, while the endowment portfolio focuses on supporting the AIM Investment Center itself.
“Because of natural student turnover, the AIM Investment Center has appointed a president, Sanford Leeds, to provide continuity within the fund’s management team. Each year, up to 20 students are chosen to join the MBA Investment Fund based on a competitive application process. These students become fund managers who take charge of most activity within the fund’s three portfolios, working in conjunction with investment counselors to determine the best courses of action for each portfolio.
“The student managers work under the guidance of investment counselors, each of whom specializes in a different area of expertise, such as Telecommunications, Industrials or Healthcare. These counselors, who hail from leading companies such as J.P. Morgan Stanley and American Century Investments, are chosen by the fund board and do not receive compensation for their participation with the company. Though students take an active role in shaping the financial structure of each portfolio, counselors can veto any student investment suggestion they feel will harm or hamper the overall profitability of the portfolio in question. Students may still pitch rejected suggestions to an MBA Investment Fund Officer for academic credit for their work. In addition to consulting with Leeds and investment counselors, students are also required to discuss their decisions with an advisory board made up of finance department faculty members and leaders within the investment management industry.”
To read more about McCombs, as well as to obtain in-depth program and curriculum information, be sure to check out the UT Austin / McCombs’ School Profile!