Why the Capital Markets and Asset Management Immersion is a No-Brainer

by David Michael Estrine, MBA '17 (4/19/16)

David Michael Estrine, MBA '17

When beginning the Capital Markets and Asset Management (CMAM) immersion, there were a few common terms on our minds: equities, fixed income, commodities, currencies, and derivatives. We all agreed that it doesn’t take an MBA to know that bankruptcy is something to avoid. That opinion changed during our first CMAM session when Rob Symington, visiting senior lecturer of Finance and portfolio manager at a distressed debt hedge fund, showed us a keyhole into this esoteric niche of asset management. Part game theory, part musical chairs, one goal for distressed creditors is to strategically insert themselves into the capital structure to take control of the reorganized business (and capture the subsequent upside of the turned around company). The most refreshing aspect of this session was how we were forced to use other parts of our brains developed during the first semester core – in addition to the financial analysis, valuation, and modeling skills that supplement the CMAM practicum throughout the first year – in order to understand creditor mindset.

Practicum leaders and guest speakers, all industry veterans, and mostly Johnson alums, provide vital insight to rigorous case studies and group projects designed to simulate the careers and professional environments many of us are seeking. This method of Performance Learning™ is unique to the Cornell MBA and something I would not have been exposed to at other institutions. That is why I chose to attend Johnson – to bring the classroom experience to life.

Johnson students succeed in their internships and on the job because the practicum approach provides a year of experience prior to our first day on the job. At this time last year, I was a prospective student attending Destination Johnson, thinking I knew a thing or two about markets. Looking back and seeing how much I’ve learned, the CMAM immersion was a no-brainer for me.