As we celebrate our 15 year anniversary of the CFE, we are reminded of how much the program has grown and changed over the years. The founders probably never believed that the Growth Fund would surpass the $20 million mark or that the Carlson School would model 3 other Enterprises after the Funds!
We want to take this opportunity to thank our founders, mentors, board members (past and present), alumni, and other program supporters for their time, energy, and dedication to the program. You are what makes this experience so incredible for so many students each year.
We feel very fortunate to have so much program support from our community members and look forward to seeing how the program will evolve over the next 15 years!
Is your company looking for talented students? Have you had problems finding the right person for your organization? Let us help you! Many of our students are still looking for full-time job opportunities and would love to speak with you. Please review our Class of 2014 Bio Book to learn more about our analysts. A PDF of our Student Bio Book can also be easily viewed online. If you would like a copy of our resume book, please e-mail the CFE.
Congratulations to Minzhi Qiu, Class of 2014, for being selected as one of four finalists out of more than 500 competitors in the China Alpha Equity Trading Contest - an annual global investment competition.
Good job Minzhi!
For the last 9 years, students from the University of Minnesota, along with 7 other elite schools, have been invited to attend a one-day event hosted by investment guru, Warren Buffett. This year was no exception, as 20 Carlson School students made the trek to Omaha to visit the finance mogul's business and listened to him answer questions about his career, investment decisions, and successes.
The 3rd Annual Client Roadshow kicked off in October as five CFE students made the trip down to Owatonna, MN to visit with Federated Insurance representatives and give attendees an overview of the portfolios' performance and the analysis behind their investment decisions.
Students received great questions and feedback from our clients and are looking forward to incorporating their suggestions into next year's presentations. Client visits wrapped up last Friday with visits to Allianz and Columbia Asset Management
The Client Roadshow allows students in the CFE to have in-depth conversations with our participants, while presenting program updates and insights. Thank you to all of our participants for your continued support and partnership!
Comments from our students:
In October, the Carlson Growth Fund had an excellent month despite slightly underperforming its benchmark, the Russell 2000 Growth index, by just under one percent. The fund is up 27.37% year-to-date and 26.67% in the LTM period.
In response to rising equity markets, the CGF team recently adjusted our portfolio such that several underperforming holdings were divested and the proceeds were put into an ETF. This should result in an uptick in our returns in the coming months. Most of the Fund's constituent companies had positive outcomes for the month and exceeded expectations, but some did not perform as well as expected.
The Carlson Fixed Income Fund analysts stayed busy last month as they closely followed the U.S. Government shutdown, U.S. Government debt debates and many earnings reports from their issuers.
The Q3 GDP growth rate was reported above expectations at 2.8%, up from 2.5% in Q2 helping to confirm our overweight in corporates. We are currently overweight the Corporate sector at 39.1% of the portfolio compared to 28.6% for the benchmark.
In October, CFIF outperformed the Barclays U.S. Gov/Credit Index by 4 basis points based on strong performance in Corporate and Government-related sectors. We outperformed by 7 bps in sector weight and underperformed by 1bps and 3bps in duration positioning and security selection respectively. Overall, all of our corporate bonds had a positive return for the month. Agilent was the top performer in our portfolio due to its long duration.
The Carlson Funds Enterprise is excited to welcome Kathy Tune and Wan-Chong Kung to the Funds Enterprise Advisory Board. To learn more about Kathy and Wan-Chong, please visit our Advisory Board page for their biographies. Our new members bring a combined 30+ years of industry experience to the board and we look forward to hearing more from these accomplished business leaders.
This fall, the CFE brought on two industry professionals to be on campus once a week and help students refine their investment proposals and research recommendations. These professionals have been a fantastic resource for the students, as they allow students to have more one-on-one interaction with mentors and are able to give students instant feedback about their research ideas.
Phil Dobrzynski, Growth Fund
Phil has been a mentor for the Carlson Growth Fund for 5 years and is now taking on additional responsibilities as the Portfolio Manager in Residence for the Growth Fund. As a former associate portfolio manager at Riverbridge Partners, Phil was responsible for portfolio construction, security selection, and company research across all industry sectors. Phil received his BS degree in accounting from Pennsylvania State University and his MBA from the Carlson School.
Scott Schroepfer, Fixed Income Fund
Scott worked for 20 years in the asset management industry as a senior portfolio manager at Riversource Investments and is now consulting with student analysts as the Portfolio Manager in Residence for the Fixed Income Fund. At Riversource, he was responsible for managing investment portfolios for both retail and institutional clients. Prior to that, Scott worked at US Bank in its investment banking division. Scott received his MBA in finance from the Carlson School and has a bachelor's degree in business from the University of Wisconsin.
This summer, the CFE set out to determine what changes need to be made to our curriculum to accommodate the needs of today's workplace. The CFE sought out input from our community members to collectively provide recommendations on how the Funds Enterprise should look in 5-7 years. The findings came from a combination of survey responses, open discussions, and individual interviews from over 100 of our alumni, mentors, board members, participants, and employers. The key takeaways are outlined below:
Over the next couple months, the CFE leaders will be meeting with board members and Carlson School leaders to develop a strategic plan, which will outline strategic initiatives and goals. The outline will be presented in the next edition of the Carlson Funds Enterprise newsletter.
Being part of the Carlson Fixed Income Fund, which at the time had just recently opened up to undergraduates, gave me the opportunity to practice real-world financial management where I could directly apply my coursework early on. I was constantly challenged to think like a professional while working with MBA students, faculty members, and mentors who had years of industry experience. Even though I graduated in 2009 during the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression when jobs were scarce, the guidance and support I received from my mentors and the broader CFE network allowed me to secure a full-time position. In fact, my internship and first job after college at Wells Fargo were both direct results of recruitment through the CFE. Today, I regularly use the same skill sets I developed while in the Fixed Income Fund and they continue to benefit me in my current role as a research analyst at Varde Partners. I enjoy seeing our alumni across the spectrum of the finance industry and am very proud to be part of the ever-growing CFE network.
We'd like to recognize our CFE alums who recently passed their CFA exams! Congratulations to the below individuals for successfully completing their June exam.
Good luck to those who are planning on taking the December exam!
The Carlson Funds Enterprise provides a variety of opportunities for organizations and individuals to engage with us. Opportunities include hosting site visits, sponsoring live case competitions, becoming a guest speaker, and lending financial support for student scholarships, research, and program development. If you are interested in learning more about ways to contribute to our program, please e-mail Jerry Caruso.
If you would like to stay in the loop about CFE events and news, please sign up to be added to our distribution list.