River Hawk Fund Offers Real-Life Investment Experience
The CFA program is part of a portfolio of opportunities available to Sigmund Weis School students to gain finance experience outside of the traditional classroom.
Another is the River Hawk Fund, a student-managed investment fund of the Student Government Association.
Students in Dadalt’s 400-level finance course of the same name invested $180,000 in three $60,000 installments beginning in the fall 2017 semester.
Students are split into working groups, each focused on a different economic sector, such as health care, utilities and consumer discretionary. Using Susquehanna’s Bloomberg Terminals, they conduct what at one time would have been exhaustive research into the financial indicators within each sector.
“Using Excel, they make spreadsheets to see the patterns within the financial indicators,” Dadalt says. “Then the class as a whole votes on each investment recommendation.”
Those recommendations then go before the River Hawk Fund advisory board, made up of university administrators, including Mike Coyne, co–chief operating officer and vice president for finance and administration, and three alumni with investment experience—Mark Cummins ’78, Tal Daly ’76 and Jenna Poore ’10.
Students are admitted into the course only after receiving instructor permission. One of them is Jessica Bolger, a senior finance major from Stanhope, New Jersey.
“I wanted to work on the River Hawk Fund because it’s an opportunity for students to learn how to properly invest in the stock market while working with real money,” she says. “This is interesting to me because I’d like to get into a career within the investment management industry, and this class is the perfect hands-on opportunity to really gain investing experience.”
Becoming Certified On Bloomberg Terminals
The Bloomberg Terminals, which include specialized keyboards, double-screen displays and the Bloomberg Professional investment software, allow students to monitor and analyze financial markets in real time and place trades on Bloomberg’s electronic trading platform.
The trading room—located centrally on the second floor of Apfelbaum Hall—was recently reconfigured so that all 12 terminals fit in the single room.
The trading room has become a hub for finance majors now that they are required to become certified in using the terminals by the time they graduate.
More Value-Added Opportunities
Students, like Bolger, also participate in the CFA Institute Research Challenge, an annual global competition that provides university students with hands-on mentoring and intensive training in financial analysis and professional ethics.
Despite being one of the smallest participating schools in the Philadelphia region, Susquehanna had the largest contingent of students in the challenge’s most recent iteration.
“I took part because I thought it would be a great way to enhance my writing skills, specifically for analyst reports. It’s also a great topic to discuss in an interview,” Bolger says. “Although my team and I did not advance to the next round, we received some really great feedback about our report, including areas that needed improvement.”
Students also take part in Quinnipiac University’s Global Asset Management Education Forum, the largest student-run financial conference in the world at which participants discuss and debate financial best practices with world-renowned industry leaders. The newest resource available to finance majors is the school’s new partnership with Barron’s.
Students point to all of these factors as having contributed to the success and growth of Susquehanna’s finance major.
Ward adds that a unique strength of the Sigmund Weis School is its robust alumni network.
“I really like how involved our alumni are with helping us succeed and providing knowledge and resources,” she explains. “I have made many connections I don’t think I would have found anywhere else.”
Hundreds of Susquehanna alumni are employed at the nation’s top financial firms—like Bank of America, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, Prudential and Vanguard—providing students with a worldwide network of professional opportunities and career advice.
Virtually all graduates of the Sigmund Weis School of Business get a job within six months of graduation—thanks to solid business coursework, a well-rounded liberal arts education and the many opportunities available to students outside of the classroom, from internships to programs like the CFA Recognition Program, the River Hawk Fund and others.
“We’re here to invest in our students, and you can see at the end of the day that you’ve done something with intrinsic value,” Dadalt says. “Susquehanna offers our students the best of both worlds—a world-class business education in an environment where you will grow as a person.”