Student perspective: Fall at the Fund

By Michael Jang, MBA ‘24

By: Staff
A male student standing in front of a podium and screen addresses an audience while another male student standing next to him looks on. Both are dressed in business suits.

Michael Jang, MBA ’24, looking over at a fellow Cayuga Fund portfolio manager, Wen-Shao (Daniel) Chen, MPS-RE ’24 (Baker Program in Real Estate), while Chen presents to the rest of the Cayuga Fund class (photo by Simon Wheeler)

At the start of the fall 2023 semester, I was immensely impressed by the course composition for the Cayuga Fund class, Applied Portfolio Management— particularly by the breadth and caliber of guest lectures by investment executives willing to donate their knowledge and time to students at the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management. For me, the Cayuga Fund class highlighted the extensive scope of Cornell University’s reach in the investment community. 

The fundamental research process for publicly traded equities

The Cayuga Fund class focused on teaching students about the fundamental equity research process at the beginning of the fall 2023 semester. Students interested in becoming Cayuga Fund analysts were first divided into sectors: consumer, financials, healthcare, industrials, and technology. Each student was tasked with creating and researching unique micro-industries comprised of three stocks within each respective sector. Research included utilizing Bloomberg, Capital IQ, earnings calls, news reports, and SEC filings. The semester concluded with each student presenting a stock pick that was judged and dissected by peers in the Cayuga Fund and Sanjeev Bhojraj, Alumni Professor in Asset Management and the faculty codirector of the Parker Center for Investment Research.

Four male and one female student, dressed in business attire, stand at a podium. One is speaking.
Cayuga Fund student portfolio managers presenting to classmates in the Cayuga Fund class (left to right): Wen-Shao (Daniel) Chen, MPS-RE ’24; Sophie Kim, MBA ’24; Michael Jang, MBA ’24; and Yang Lyu, MBA ’24 (photo by Simon Wheeler)

Quantitative analysis

Chris Meredith, MBA ’05, visiting senior lecturer and comanager of the Cayuga Fund, as well as a senior portfolio manager and the director of research and portfolio management at O’Shaughnessy Asset Management, led the quantitative analysis portion of the semester. Students in each sector were tasked with using quantitative variables to determine the top 15 to 25 stocks in their industry that would comprise the Cayuga Fund portfolio for the year and whose performance would be judged and graded at the end of the year. Meredith would lead periodic portfolio performance reviews and challenge teams on their picks. Each sector team also presented market updates to the fund.

Esteemed guest speakers

Cayuga Fund students had the privilege of learning from alumni guest speakers who have had long and successful careers in the investment industry. Cayuga Fund speakers covered a wide range of areas, including the buy-side and sell-side, private wealth management, and quantitative analysis. These guest workshops gave students unprecedented access to investment executives and the opportunity to learn invaluable summations of each professional’s lessons learned throughout their careers.

A posed group of 23 students and one faculty member dressed in business attire.
Cayuga Fund student portfolio managers with Professor Scott Stewart (back row, right) on campus (photo by Simon Wheeler)

Learning from peers

An unexpected benefit of the Cayuga Fund class was the opportunity to learn from my peers. Cayuga Fund students come from a diverse range of industries, including consulting, corporate finance, currency trading, equities, fixed income, healthcare, investment banking, real estate, and tech-gaming. Each student had a unique perspective and method of researching and selecting the companies in their area of coverage as well as presenting style, which we were all able to learn from.

What’s next? Fixed-income research

In spring 2024, the Cayuga Fund class will cover fixed-income research and expose first-year MBA students to some of the workings of the Cayuga Fund. Sector teams will be tasked with researching and selecting debt issuances to present, maintaining the Cayuga Fund equity portfolio, and presenting a year-end summary of each sector’s performance as well as the Cayuga Fund’s performance as a whole.

I look forward to concluding my time on the Cayuga Fund with a year-end portfolio presentation to Cornell University Endowment managers that will cover the fund’s performance over the academic year and the results of students’ collective work.

About Michael Jang, MBA ’24

headshot of Michael Jang.

Michael Jang is a class of 2024 MBA candidate in the Two-Year MBA program at the Johnson School. Jang is a portfolio manager in the Cayuga Fund, a student-managed fund with assets under management of approximately $1.5 million in Cornell University endowment money. He is also a teaching assistant for the Investment Research and Asset Management Immersion. On campus, Jang is involved in the Investment Management Club (copresident), Old Ezra Club (vice president of investment research and asset management), Out4Business: LGBTQ+ Club (treasurer), and Korean Business Association (treasurer). Prior to pursuing his MBA degree, he was a financial analyst/accountant at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.