Investment Management Group invests for Baruch College fund
It is no secret that Baruch College is full of professional business clubs; over 80 percent of Baruch’s undergraduates are enrolled in the Zicklin School of Business. Surprisingly, few students know that Baruch a finance club invests actual money from the Baruch College Fund. The Investment Management Group does just that. The Investment Management Group of Baruch College is comprised of a group of undergraduate students who manage a $250,000 diverse stock portfolio on behalf of the Baruch College Fund. The club meets on Thursdays in the Sidney I. Lirtzman Financial Seminar Hall (next to the Bert W. and Sandra Wasserman Trading Floor) as well as on Saturdays for trading workshops. It functions under the current leadership of Jonathan Hla, CEO and dedicated member of the club since his induction, who also reigns as the captain of the Baruch College men’s swim team. The club thrives by hosting numerous popular events concentrated in the realm of finance.
In its online biographical description, the executive board of the Investment Management Group explains that the organization “seek(s) to provide active members with technical knowledge, financial know-how and leadership abilities by entrusting a considerable degree of responsibility to each team member.” Although the club does not hone in on the acceptance of one specific major, the majority of members pursue interests in finance, mathematics, and quantitative and statistical modeling.
Potential inductees of the Investment Management Group are “passionate about the financial services industry and are looking to take their interest to a new level.” For this reason, the executive board picks new members through a rather stringent screening process, which includes two rounds of interviews—the first of which is a phone interview. Inductees are to have knowledge of the markets and a passion that will drive them to commit to the organization, which is at times, rather rigorous and demanding.
As of now, there are approximately 45 active members and 15 junior analysts, who are in the process of becoming active members, in the club. The structure of the group is broken down into six different industry sectors: consumer /retail, energy, financials, industrials, healthcare, technology and media & telecom. Each industry teams hosts 4 analysts and 2 junior analysts. At the top of these divisions are the five officers: Jonathan Hla, CEO Adit Shah, COO, Aleksandra Mikhalyova, CIO, Sidharth Thakur, CFO, and Chandni Parekh, CDO.
In each of its events, hosted in Lirtzman Hall, where the club convenes, chief executives update one another on recent events relating to both the club and the financial market as a whole, and members pitch stocks companies of their specific sector they feel the board may seek to invest.
For example, on Thursday’s event, three groups pitched stocks to their colleagues pertaining to the teams in which they stand: healthcare, energy, and industry. Club members then responded to the presenters’ pitches, asking questions and providing their input on the prospects of specific ventures. After feedback from the executive board, the members addressed concerns and incorporated commentary on future evaluations and presentations to come.
On Saturday events, the board members host five-hour workshops, teaching current members and junior analysts the concepts of investing, basic accounting, financial statement analysis, corporate finance, valuation and technical analysis.
In order to keep the club members engaged in a balanced lifestyle, Hla endorses a “work hard, play hard attitude,” one in which members experience social aspects of the club by grabbing food or playing soccer as they develop their knowledge of the financial market. By doing this, members create bonds with other club members, which is useful in not only inter-communication but also in the fostering of camaraderie.
This idea greatly factors into the numerous goals of the club as voiced by Hla. Under his leadership, the CEO explained that he held three ideals for the club: to increase member knowledge of philosophy behind value investing, to encourage members to really pursue a career because of a focus on passion, and to increase connection with the administration and the extensive alumni network.
In the first case, Hla and the members of the executive board began hosting the Saturday workshops. Hla also developed a reading list—available on the club website—with over fifty suggested materials pertaining to investment banking, business, trading and asset management. Hla cites that these online tools help strengthen market knowledge, but what he finds “most effective is inspiring an inquisitive environment during general meetings” through discussion and avid participations. In these weekly meetings, “members are really trying to ask in-depth questions for finding a great valuable opportunity.”
The second goal of Hla’s pertains to expanding members’ knowledge of the “multifaceted careers” in the financial services industry outside of those commonly associated with the “Big Eight.” Hla ties in the subsets of equity research, asset management, consulting, hedge funds, private equity, etc., to “increase members’ horizons with reference to careers.” To do this, Hla and the board consistently invite speakers of all academic backgrounds and careers to events. Some recently featured prominent figures include: Richard Schultz, founder of Triad Securities, Jason Trennert, managing partner of Strategas Research Partners LLC, and Darryl White, the CEO & group head of Bank of Montreal.
Hla’s final goal has been to increase connection with the administration and Baruch’s extensive alumni. A notable development of his staff is the creation of the first-ever alumni database under his leadership. To further its networking contacts, the club will be hosting its grandeur mixer in May.
The three goals of Hla have indeed proven successful. The club continues to foster relationships with front office positions at JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs, Credit Suisse, UBS AG, Sociotech General, BlackRock, Morgan Stanley and many more. With a 100 percent placement each year, members are guaranteed success if they put in avid work, uphold high aspirations and stay dedicated to the team throughout their college careers.
With regards to the future, Hla notes that this semester the team stressed teamwork and portfolio improvement, which is a constant work-in-progress for the team members they hope to perfect in the near-future.
The CEO notes that as of now, many more alumni are approaching points where they are joining investment firms, private equity and hedge funds. Although the typical firms hire people from Harvard, Wharton and Columbia, Hla notes that Investment Management Group has already competed against these schools in national stock pitch competitions and demonstrated its strength and knowledge. Therefore, the club is consistently working on “pioneering Baruch’s exposure to major investment firms.” It is with hope that IMG continues to uphold its values, lead, inspire and sustain the club’s legacy for many years to come.