Three University of Pittsburgh College of Business Administration students had the opportunity to sharpen their financial knowledge and strengthen their professional networks through the inaugural Chicago Quantitative Alliance (CQA) Summer Institute at Wilkes University in May 2018.
Ross Micka, Estefania Luna, and Nicolette Messina all received scholarships, generously donated by Katz Alum Dan Cardell (MBA ‘80) and an anonymous donor, to participate in the seminar. During their stay in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., the students completed a program called Advanced Investment Management (AIM), an intensive two-week “boot camp” taught by distinguished investment industry professionals.
The CQA is an exclusive organization of investment professionals. Born out of the necessity for a professional organization focused on quantitative investment and management, CQA has grown tremendously over the past 25 years. Members are some of the most influential professionals in the investment industry, with an average tenure of 25 to 30 years of experience and senior-level titles at the largest investment firms in the world. Each year, the organization holds member-only conferences in Chicago, Las Vegas, Hong Kong and New York City, where industry leaders meet to discuss the latest advancements in the investment world. With a three-year wait list for membership, the CQA is regarded as a leading organization for investment professionals.
Looking for a way to give back to students and the next generation of industry leaders, the CQA developed The Advanced Investment Management seminar. Aimed at providing students with exposure to key areas of the investment industry and studying situations through a real-world lens, AIM wants to mold the next generation of leaders. From programming training to quantitative analysis skills, to presentation and soft skill training, the CQA Summer Institute encompasses many aspects of what students can expect to encounter when they enter the workforce.
Luna, one of the Pitt Business scholarship recipients, says the program seemed like a great fit for her career aspirations in the investment management industry. “I’m hoping to expand my network and focus on hard skills in areas like programming, risk models, and model development,” she says. The program “can provide a lot of benefit to your career,” she adds.
The AIM program will feature comprehensive courses on a wide series of topics, ranging from industry overviews to asset and portfolio allocation. The program will also include keynote lectures and discussions, networking opportunities with industry leaders, field trips to Wall Street, and a capstone project focused on investment strategies. At the conclusion of the program, CQA mentors and faculty hope to assist with placing students at firms for internships and full-time jobs.
“If you’re looking for something that will have an impact on your life, this is something that will pay dividends well beyond the two weeks,” says Cardell, the CQA founder. “Besides the fact that they will learn a lot, students will build long-lasting relationships with faculty and peers.” He adds that, in the future, the CQA wants to provide an alumni network, where faculty can provide references and guidance down the road and peers can connect as they move through their careers.
“Employers look at hundreds and hundreds of resumes. The question becomes how do you create something that allows you to stand out?” Cardell says. “Participation in the CQA’s Advanced Investment Management seminar may be just that. Employers will know that you’re passionate and have a real interest in the field if you have participated in the program.”
The AIM program is for highly motivated undergraduate students who have completed their junior year of study. Applicants should be passionate about learning the necessary skills needed for a career in the investment industry.
Kathleen Foody-Malus, a former investment professional and a Pitt Business Executive in Residence focused on finance, was instrumental in helping to bring the CQA AIM opportunity to Pitt Business students. Foody-Malus also teaches the school’s Industry Professional Network on finance management, where she provides additional opportunities for students to learn about the finance industry and gain industry connections.
“At Pitt Business, students can take advantage of many opportunities to network across the finance industry and learn from established finance professionals. I am grateful for the support of Dan Cardell from the CQA Institute for providing this opportunity for our students to participate in the summer academy, which will be a phenomenal experience for our students,” Foody-Malus says.