Learning Sell-Side Finance: Students Manage an Active Investment Fund at Golden Gate University


If you want to move from the sell-side to the buy-side in Finance or get bankable experience you can use to get a first job in the field, the Student Managed Investment Fund course can be a pillar of your career development. This fall, students in the MBA or MSF programs who take the class will get hands-on experience in portfolio management and security analysis with an active fund with a substantial endowment. The course is taught by Dave Kaczorowski, CFA® who worked in investment research for seven years and Robert Scannell, CFA® who founded and ran Tradewinds Investment Management, a $400 million hedge fund. The course was developed by Professor Kaczorowski and Professor Andrea Anthony, PhD, Finance and Economics Department Chair, and funded through the generosity of the Golden Gate University Board of Directors.

Wall Street in the Classroom

“When it comes to learning how to invest, there is no substitute for managing real money,” says Professor Kaczorowski, who also serves as Academic Program Manager at GGU. “The emotional attachment of having dollars at stake is crucial and better prepares students for the real world. From informal observation, students that are working with an active fund can be more tentative at first, but over time get accustomed to the risk of losing real money.  That is the situation that buy-side investors face every day.”

In the Student Managed Investment Fund course, students will start by choosing a sector of the U.S. economy to cover, and deliver a report on the macro trends in that sector.  Then, during the term, they will limit their recommendations to the sectors they cover.  This not only teaches the students to analyze specific stocks, but also the respect for the industry around them.  “Without this restriction, I expect most students would be attracted to high profile tech companies,” says Kaczorowski, “but in the real world we don’t always get to choose our coverage spaces.”

“When it comes to learning how to invest, there is no substitute for managing real money.”
Professor Dave Kaczorowski, CFA

Presentation Skills Needed in Finance

Whether you’re a hedge fund analyst reporting to a portfolio manager, or a capital markets analyst talking to a client, the ability to convince others of your view is crucial to the investment profession. In the upcoming class, students will have to stand in front of their peers and present their recommendations, and face the scrutiny of their experienced instructors in real time.

“What works for presenters in these situations is knowing your stuff, and stating very clearly and concisely your position. Presenters who give long rambling answers, or don’t have an answer to every question, likely won’t convince others of their views. You can rehearse ahead of time, but in the real world, you will have no way of knowing the questions the clients will ask.  You just need to know as much about the topic as you can.”

If you want to learn more about the course or the MS in Finance program, you are welcome to email Dave Kaczorowski directly.

CFA® (Chartered Financial Analyst) is a registered trademark owned by CFA Institute.

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