In addition to being an experiential and peer learning opportunity for Bucknell students, SMIF also incorporates traditional lecture and literature mediated learning. All of these elements of the SMIF experience were present during the summer for the incoming SMIF analysts.
Over the summer, the five returning SMIF students and this fall’s new SMIF analysts were given sector and committee assignments and assigned readings. Students, either individually or in pairs, were assigned to follow the fund’s holdings in one of the eleven S&P sectors, as well as the sector at large. In addition, a few students in each class were assigned to serve on the Portfolio Analytics and Reporting (PAR) Committee. The PAR Committee tracks the performance of the fund’s holdings and reports their findings to the rest of the SMIF class. Over the summer, they performed this function on a monthly basis, but during the semester they do so weekly.
While this year’s SMIF class may not have gotten a seat at the table of a market event like Brexit as the last SMIF class had, there were still a number of learning moments presented by the markets over the summer. For instance, following a poor earnings release, lowered full-year guidance, and the announcement of Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods, Kroger’s share price fell nearly 30% within 24 hours. Consumer Staples analysts, Michael McHale, Meghan Holtz, and Allie Lane, were faced to consider selling out of our positions or other alternatives like a limit sell order. Similarly, Cardinal Health released quarterly earnings and revised down their guidance as well, sending their stock price down by 8.2% in a single day of trading and over 20% in the month of August. In this case the Healthcare analysts, myself and Emily Gagis, considered exiting the position or selling out-of-the-money call options to hedge against further losses. In both cases immediate actions were not taken, but these events served as valuable learning experiences for the SMIF analysts.
Alongside their sector and committee assignments, students also read three books related to investing and risk management. The books were Against the Gods: The Remarkable Story of Risk by Peter L. Bernstein, The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham, and Winning the Loser’s Game: Timeless Strategies for Successful Investing by Charles Ellis. These titles gave students a history of risk analytics and management, a background in basic securities analysis and value investing, and practical advice on investment strategies and asset allocation. Students were tasked with writing responses for each book and an additional essay tying together the lessons they drew from all three books.
Not only were students completing their assigned SMIF tasks during the summer, but also, they were engaged in numerous and diverse professional internship opportunities. For instance, I served as a summer analyst at Sandler O’Neill + Partners within their Asset Management and Insurance Investment Banking Groups. This year’s incoming SMIF analysts spent their summers working in industries including private wealth management, consulting, credit research, audit and risk advisory, and accounting at companies like PwC, Deloitte, BlackRock, BofA Merrill Lynch, and JPMorgan Chase, among others.
Written by Nick Abbott