The Parker Center for Investment Research is a center for the study of asset management at the Cornell College of Business and is the hub of the asset management program at Johnson. The Center provides a world-class education in security analysis (i.e., investment research) and portfolio management to future leaders in the asset management industry. The Center consists of a state-of-the-art analytical facility with software and data feeds that rival the best of what investment professionals use, a $1 million student-managed fund, the Cayuga MBA Fund, with an associated capstone course in asset management, and a faculty/staff bench with deep knowledge and experience in the security analysis and asset management industry. The Center also hosts flagship events featuring corporate partners that provide key networking and recruiting opportunities for Cornell students.
The Parker Center prepares students for careers as sellside analysts (industry specialists advising institutional money managers) or buyside analysts/portfolio managers (institutional money managers) covering equity or fixed income securities. Our students also pursue careers in corporate finance/investor relations, private wealth management, and other capital markets roles. Most of our students are interested in careers as fundamental research analysts but some also pursue quantitative research, and the Cayuga Fund course and experience provides training for both career paths.
Core Accounting, Core Finance, Financial Statement Analysis (beginning and advanced), Intermediate Accounting, Applied Portfolio Management (i.e., the Cayuga Fund course), Financial Modeling, and Valuation are critical courses. Electives that round out a heavy finance curriculum and spark out-of-the-box thinking are also strongly encouraged, such as courses in Business Strategy and Disruptive Technologies.
If you enjoy accounting and finance courses, industry analysis, business strategy, and what drives businesses to succeed or fail, and you enjoy following the stock/bond market, reading the newspaper, and understanding what drives stock/bond prices, then this may be an enjoyable and rewarding career for you. Strong communication skills, both written and verbal, are a must in this field.
The sellside research departments of investment banks will typically hire 8-12 MBA interns each every year and are on the same recruiting cycle as investment banking. Johnson has alumni working in sellside research in most top investment banks who will serve as effective guides to their individual firm’s hiring process. Pay is competitive with investment banking for MBA graduates. On the buyside, the large investment firms typically have structured MBA recruiting programs, also with very competitive pay. Again, Johnson alumni are placed in many of these top firms and will serve as the best resource in navigating their firm’s hiring. In addition, there are hundreds of buyside firms that will be opportunistically hiring good talent, though not necessarily on an MBA recruiting cycle (and pay varies by size of firm), so this will require a strong independent job search effort. Our most successful students have found jobs by networking heavily with Johnson alumni and their undergraduate institution’s alumni in addition to taking advantage of on-campus recruiting opportunities and resources. Women, you may be interested to know that there is currently great interest from the investment management industry in hiring women, as they are vastly underrepresented in the field, and numerous studies have established that having a more diverse workforce leads to better business outcomes. The Parker Center’s Women in Investing (WIN) conference (more on this below) offers a great venue to connect with firms and get noticed by recruiters in this space.
We recommend taking advantage of the following opportunities while you are at Johnson.
Cayuga Fund First Year Sector Analyst Program
A unique opportunity for students interested in pursuing investment management careers is the Cayuga Fund first year sector analyst program – an opportunity to be involved in the management of the Cayuga MBA Fund in the first year of the MBA program for course credit. Approximately 6-7 first year students are selected through a competitive process for this opportunity. The selection process is modeled after Fidelity Investments’ p-test, or prospectus test, in which applicants are given limited information on the stock of a company, including 10-Q and 10-K filings, sellside analyst reports, conference call transcripts and two hours to come up with an investment recommendation, which they will need to pitch to interviewers. Successful students are paired with a second year Cayuga Fund analyst and can begin covering a sector and pitching stocks into the fund as assistant portfolio managers. They are also given the unique opportunity to be featured in the Cayuga Fund annual report and can indicate their position on their resumes. First Year Sector Analysts are not guaranteed a position in the Cayuga Fund during their second year and will need to re-apply to be student portfolio managers in the fund in the spring semester with the rest of the applicant pool.
Every fall, the CMC, coordinates an informational trek to Boston to visit with several investment management firms and hear from investment professionals, including successful Johnson alumni. These sessions offer an invaluable peek into each firm’s distinct culture, what it takes to succeed in the investment management business, and allows students to ask questions in an organized forum. To learn more, please contact Dave Capaldi, Associate Director, Career Management Center at firstname.lastname@example.org. Dave is the CMC point of contact for students interested in pursuing investment research and capital markets careers. In addition, the student-run Investment Management Club (IMC) also organizes other trips to NYC. Joining the IMC is a must for students interested in pursuing investment research careers on the buyside or sellside, sales, trading, or private wealth management.
MBA Stock Pitch Competition (SPC) and Women In Investing (WIN) Conference
The Parker Center for Investment Research hosts two flagship MBA events in November of every year, designed to connect students to corporate recruiters: the MBA SPC and the WIN conference. Both featuring representatives from top-tier investment management programs and peers from top MBA programs, the events allow students to showcase their stock-picking skills and network with peers and industry professionals. The opportunity to represent Cornell’s teams for both these events is determined through a competitive selection process and interested students are encouraged to participate in student tryouts held for this purpose. For the WIN conference, which is designed to educate and encourage more women to pursue careers in asset management women may attend without having to participate in the stock-pitching portion of the conference. Resume books will be distributed to sponsors at both these events. In addition, students have the opportunity to try out to represent Cornell in other stock-pitching venues that provide recruiting opportunities. For more information on the SPC, WIN, or other competition opportunities, please contact Lakshmi Bhojraj, Breazzano Family Executive Director of the Parker Center for Investment Research at email@example.com.
Capital Markets and Asset Management (CMAM) Immersion
Students seeking careers in investment research, sales, trading, or private wealth are encouraged to sign up for the CMAM immersion in the second semester of their first year in the MBA program. CMAM students will have the opportunity to research and pitch stocks into the Cayuga Fund under faculty supervision and in consultation with second year Cayuga Fund students, thereby acquiring a unique opportunity to obtain necessary skills before the start of their summer internship. For more information on the CMAM immersion, please contact Rob Symington at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Students wishing to pursue investment management careers will typically be selected into the capstone asset management course, Applied Portfolio Management, informally known as the Cayuga Fund course, in the second year of their MBA program. As part of this course, students have an opportunity to serve as portfolio managers, managing real money, for the $1 million Cayuga MBA Fund. Students are selected for this course through a competitive process at the end of their first year in the program. Criteria for admission to the fund are grades in core accounting, finance, and other finance courses, demonstrated passion for the investment management business, and overall fit. Students who wish to enroll for Applied Portfolio Management cannot pursue study abroad or other Johnson programs requiring a significant time commitment such as Big Red Ventures. For more information on the Cayuga Fund, please see our website: www.cayugafund.com