Capital Markets and Asset Management Immersion: The Key to Thriving

by Rafael Alegria, MBA ‘14

Rafael Alegria, MBA ‘14

One of the main reasons I chose Johnson was to acquire necessary skills to transition from a role in Managerial Finance to Sales and Trading. While the fast paced environment and dynamics of capital markets have always thrilled me, I didn’t have the technical skills required to work on a trading floor. That’s where the Capital Markets and Asset Management (CMAM) Immersion played a fundamental role in my success.

As an anecdote, during my summer internship on a fixed income desk at a major bank, I was asked to recommend a strategy to hedge duration (one of the risks associated with fixed income instruments) in a position that the bank had in its portfolio. Thanks to the knowledge I acquired through the CMAM Immersion, particularly the Fixed Income intensive course, which helped us understand fixed income securities from pricing to hedging, I was able to recommend a trade that was successfully implemented by the team. This is just one of many examples of how the CMAM Immersion provided the skillset to be successful in capital markets and learn how key players in these markets interact and use an array of financial instruments on a daily basis.

How did the immersion help us learn real-life application? The answer to this question is twofold. First, on the academic side, we complete several courses that range from investing and portfolio management to analyzing real business cases related to capital markets. These cases are later discussed with key players in the major firms analyzed. For example, we had the opportunity to study a case focused on the farmland portfolio of TIAA-CREF (a leading financial services provider with $523 billion in assets under management) and later discuss the case with Heather Davis, Head of Global Private Markets at TIAA-CREF.

CMAM Immersion allows students to gain hands-on experience in markets through our involvement in the Cayuga Fund, Johnson’s student-run hedge fund. Within the fund, students play different roles such as portfolio manager, sector analyst, and trader, among others, and learn what it takes to be an actual portfolio manager on the buy-side. These are just two examples of unique experiences that the CMAM Immersion offers. CMAM far exceeded my expectations and I am excited to remain involved in the program as an alumni.