FIU Business students who aspire to work as bond traders or analysts - some of Wall Street's most demanding jobs - have an opportunity to build their skills using real research and real money, thanks to a new class featuring a $300,000 investment from Florida International University.
The new Student Managed Fixed Income Fund class is one of only two experiential fixed income classes known to be offered at Florida universities. Taught by Mark Del Pezzo, a chartered financial analyst and Department of Finance instructor who previously managed portfolios in excess of $1 billion at a Wall Street firm, the class format is modeled on the finance department's popular Student Managed Investment Fund class.
Kicking off with a "bond boot camp," students get exposure to the fundamentals of bond trading and analysis. Afterwards, they work in teams to research and select fixed income investments. At the conclusion of the class, students present to a board, including members ofthe FIU Treasurer's Office, which funded the fixed income effort. "There are lots of jobs in the bond market, because these markets are less efficient," Del Pezzo said. "Experiential learning in this area is really important, and the feedback we're getting is very positive.
"We need to equip our students with the best experience we can to get these jobs."
Mark Del Pezzo, Finance Instructor
"We are a back-office team and we look for opportunities that can positively impact our students," said University Treasurer Powell Jarrell, who oversees the university's operating fund investment portfolio and was instrumental in creating the student fixed income fund. "When we heard about this, we wanted to take action as fast as we could." He noted the recent trend of hedge funds from New York, Boston, Chicago and other northern cities moving down to South Florida, creating new employment opportunities. "We need to equip our students with the best experience we can to get these jobs," he said.
As a condition of FIU's $300,000 investment in the fund, the university's Investment Committee requires students to provide performance updates justifying the investments they choose. "This will give students experience presenting to a board of professionals ... and will provide them a competitive advantage when they apply for jobs in the investment community," Jarrell noted.