Mihaylo College finance students perfect their investment skills at the Titan Capital Management trading lab.

The October Titan Capital Management (TCM) Conference enabled students to build their career network while gaining valuable investment experience. “I didn’t look at the conference as a competition among my peers, but rather as an opportunity to improve myself,” said Edith Vargas ’18, who took first place in the Seeking Alpha competition. “I really put a lot of work into my presentation and I’m grateful for the experience I gained, so winning first-place was just icing on the cake.”

Mihaylo College’s Applied Securities Analysis Program (ASAP) hosted its second Student Investment Conference in October, which provided interactive workshops, networking and competitions judged by financial industry professionals.

Mihaylo College’s innovative ASAP program  hosted the TCM Student Investment Conference, which aims to connect finance students with opportunities for professional development and future careers in asset management. ASAP students manage more than $1.3 million for the CSUF Philanthropic Foundation, with investment proceeds partially funding student-based college services, such as the Mihaylo Tutoring Center.

The two-day event featured 53 student attendees and 20 industry professionals engaging in interactive workshops and investment competitions.

“The mission of the conference was to connect students aspiring to careers in finance with local firms seeking high-potential new graduates for entry-level positions,” says Marcia Clark, director of Bond ASAP. “The workshop formats provided a comfortable atmosphere for business managers and students to discuss the day-to-day experience of their investment practice. This understanding is essential for students to better align their skills and aspirations with the needs of various types of investment firms.”

An Investment in Time and Effort Pays Great Dividends

The TCM Conference involved two competitions offering scholarships of $250 for the Seeking Alpha competition and $150 per student for the Bloomberg event.

The Seeking Alpha research report competition required students to write an article describing the investment case for or against a company’s stocks or bonds for use on the SeekingAlpha.com website.

The Bloomberg Portfolio Management competition challenged teams of three to four students to design an investment portfolio to withstand a turbulent market environment, such as those that occurred after Britain’s vote to leave the European Union last year or the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

“The TCM Conference was a great learning experience for me because it put me in front of a panel of professionals in the investment field that was able to give me relevant feedback on my presentation,” says Edith Vargas ’18 (finance), who took first place among the Seeking Alpha Research Report finalists. “I didn’t look at the conference as a competition amongst my peers, but rather as an opportunity to improve myself. I really put a lot of work into my presentation and I’m grateful for the experience I gained. Winning first-place was just icing on the cake.”

Student winners of the Bloomberg Portfolio Management Competition in 2017 at Cal State Fullerton's Mihaylo College of Business and Economics.

Winners of the Bloomberg Portfolio Management Competition and judges from Edward Jones, Affinity Investments and the CFA Society of Orange County. The event equipped students to design a portfolio capable of withstanding turbulent market conditions.

Unique Opportunity for Learning

“You don’t know what you don’t know. This conference gives finance students, especially those who follow the investment track, a unique opportunity to learn this directly from professionals,” says Man Nguyen ’18 (finance and management), who was part of the first place Bloomberg Portfolio Management team. “There are so many things that you can never learn from textbooks or classes but from events like this. $25 to attend a conference with all the awesome meals, knowledge and connections; this deal is too good to be true.”

Christian Alvarez ’13 (accounting and finance) and Tyler Kucera of Edward Jones, who were among the event’s sponsors, were on hand to find student talent for summer 2018 internships. They interviewed eight students at the event.

Other sponsors included Greg Lai, senior portfolio manager of Affinity Investment Advisors, and Bob Boyd, managing director of Pacific Asset Management.

Jeff Van Harte ’80 (finance), chair and chief investment officer of Jackson Square Partners, provided a $10,000 donation to support the two conferences in 2017.

The conference will be held annually each October going forward and Clark hopes to expand the event’s outreach beyond CSUF. “We want to persuade more students from other local universities to attend the conference to broaden the candidate pool for our presenters and help a wider segment of the local student population gain a better understanding of the asset management industry,” she says.

For More Information

For more on the ASAP program, contact Managing Director Michael Milligan at mmilligan@fullerton.edu or Finance Lecturer and Director of Bond ASAP Marcia Clark at mclark@fullerton.edu. For more on the college’s finance program, visit the Department of Finance at SGMH 5113 or call 657-278-2217.

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