Kent State’s College of Business Administration Students Participate in University Investment Advisor Search
Kent State University’s College of Business Administration students were recently given a chance to participate in the search for the university’s new investment advisor.
The university’s Division of Finance and Administration was conducting a search for a new investment advisor, who will handle the day-to-day investment decisions of the university.
Jeannie Reifsnyder, senior associate vice president of finance and administration, says that while in the past the investment advisor has had more of a traditional role, they have looked at all different types of investment models during the search.
“We had been with our investment advisor since 2005, and our board thought it was a good idea to find out what advisors are out there, what the current cost structures are and if there are different models that we should be looking at,” Reifsnyder says.
MBA students Sudeep Mitra and Maneesh Shukla had the opportunity to participate in the Request for Qualifications (RFQ) process of the search by attending the presentations of the five firms that were considered for the position.
Five presentations – one from each firm – were held in March and attended by the Board of Trustees’ investment committee and the internal search committee. The presentations consisted of an overview of each firm and a question-and-answer portion. Afterward, a small group session with both committees, which included the students, was held, where a tentative decision was made on which firm to further vet.
Mitra says that his experience during the presentation was very educational and informative.
“As a student, this opportunity gave me a practical exposure to real-world situations and helped me get the bigger picture of investment portfolio advising services,” Mitra says. “Not only did I get to see the presentations by the different advising firms, I also got the opportunity to talk to the actual decision makers about their opinion on the different presentations and their decision criteria.”
Shukla says that he was inspired by the experience.
“I learned so many things, such as how members around table analyze the investment presentation, what kinds of things they need and how they make decisions,” Shukla says. “I would love to be part of these kinds of programs in the future.”
Steven Dennis, the Firestone Chair of Corporate Finance for the College of Business Administration, says that he is thrilled that the university is letting students participate in this process.
“Students need to know this process,” Dennis says. “It’s one thing to learn in a classroom, but actually getting involved hands-on is how students will be able to understand the professional atmosphere of their field.”
Mark M. Polatajko, Kent State’s senior vice president for finance and administration, says that it was important to involve students in this search process because it let them see the decision-making and evaluations processes first-hand.
“As a student, seeing this process – even before they enter the professional workplace – is a powerful experience,” Polatajko says. “It’s not just something they’ve been reading in a textbook or speculating on, it’s lending theory to practice.”
Polatajko also says that involving students in search processes, such as this, is definitely something that should continue.
“One of the keys here is to have a diverse perspective in search processes like this,” Polatajko says. “It really recognizes how we bring faculty, students and administration together to leverage our collective expertise and wisdom, and further the university’s mission. We all benefit from that.”
At its May 31 meeting, the Board of Trustees approved the selection of SEI Investments Management Corporation as the university investment advisor.