Aiming to connect students and professionals in a field some of its students say has been overlooked, the Yale School of Management held its first Yale Investment Management Conference at the New Haven Lawn Club on Friday.
Presented by the Investment Management Student Interest Group and organized by students at the School of Management, the conference included panels on hedge funds, mutual funds and institutional investment.
SOM students founded the conference because they said they saw a lack of awareness by the School of Management within the investment management field. Students are not always aware of job opportunities in investment management, which can be overshadowed by investment banking and consulting, they said.
“There’s been a more defined recruiting track for investment banking and consulting,” event co-founder Edward Urban SOM ’05 said.
Many of the panelists at the conference were alumni of Yale College or the School of Management.
“The success of the day is due to the strength of alumni in investment management,” Bob Clark SOM ’05 said.
Henry Johnson SOM ’94, who sat on a conference panel, said for the past 10 years he has brought his colleagues at Fiduciary Trust, where he is Executive Vice President, to speak to SOM students. But, he said, he was pleased with the creation of the conference as a more organized and substantial way to attract investment management professionals.
Investment management holds many advantages over investment banking and consulting, although students are not as aware of opportunities in the field, Johnson said. In particular, it offers a more flexible lifestyle, he said.
“I wanted to have a lifestyle that would allow me to have a family,” Johnson said.
He concluded that the collapse of the stock market “bubble” in 2000 may have increased awareness of the field. A weak job market led students to look at broader sets of opportunities, Johnson said.
Urban said that he was interested in investment management because of the inviting work environment.
“Investment management is just a great track to get into in terms of the intellectual challenges [and] the people you’re working with,” he said.
But the Investment Management Conference was more than an excuse to network, Urban said. Organizers also viewed it as an opportunity for students and professionals to learn more about the field.
Keynote speaker John A. Levin ’60 LAW ’63, Chairman and CEO of John A. Levin & Co., focused on the future of the hedge fund industry in his speech. Hedge funds are investment tools targeted to institutions and wealthy individuals. They are known for high rates of returns and significant management fees.
In his speech, Levin said he foresaw an eventual decline of profits in the hedge fund industry. As the industry expands, profit opportunities are becoming harder to find, he said.
“I think the regulations will cause a bigger problem because they won’t address the real issues,” he said, anticipating potential Securities and Exchange Commission regulations.
Organizers said they hope to make the conference an annual event.