A married couple, each 50 years old, is looking for financial planning and investment guidance to help them meet their goal of retiring at age 65 with a secure stream of retirement income. Are they getting started too late? Can they reconcile their differing risk appetites? When should they claim Social Security? Should they take a home equity loan to buy a $40,000 boat?
These are just a few of the issues that the 21 student interns in the Gateway to Leadership class of 2014 grappled with in the case study competition that is the highlight of each year’s program. To put their summer learning experience to the test, the students were divided into four teams sponsored by MMI members Fidelity, Principal Global Investors, Charles Schwab and TIAA-CREF. Each team was tasked with preparing a written proposal and presentation for the hypothetical couple with specific investment advice and recommendations to help them meet their financial goals.
In preparing their proposals, the teams held weekly conference calls throughout their two-month internships at their respective host firms. They consulted industry resources and used various financial planning tools, working under the supervision of designated team mentors at their sponsor firms. In addition, each group provided regular progress reports to the senior executive in charge of their team.
The teams’ final presentations were reviewed by senior MMI staff and Dennis McLeavey, Professor Emeritus of Finance at the University of Rhode Island, who created the case study. Professor McLeavey observed, “I was extremely impressed with the knowledge level of all of the students. Their proposals showed a sound understanding of some very complex topics, and equally impressive was how they worked together as teams despite being in different locations.”
The winners – announced by Nate Yohannes, Gateway program coordinator for MMI, at the Closing Conference in New York on August 1st – were Team Principal (pictured above). The group, which worked under the guidance of mentor and senior executive Matthew Russell, presented their recommendations during the final ceremony to the other teams. In addition, each member of the winning team was awarded a scholarship to be applied to his or her future education.
As Christopher Davis, MMI President noted, “Each of these firms helped provide these promising students with an invaluable learning experience and hopefully paved the way for some of them to pursue careers in the financial services industry. We very much appreciate their ongoing support of the Gateway program.”
MMI, UNCF and the interns owe a debt of gratitude to, and wish to acknowledge, the following firms:
- Morgan Stanley – for its very generous financial support of the case study program;
- Voya Investment Management – for hosting and photographing the closing conference;
- Fidelity, Principal, Schwab and TIAA-CREF – for sponsoring and mentoring the case study teams;
- Advisor Group, Brinker Capital, ClearBridge Advisors, Curian Capital, DTCC, Legg Mason, Macquarie, Nationwide Financial, NEPC, Northwestern Mutual, Principal, TIAA-CREF, Virtus and Voya – for hosting students this summer;
- Wheelhouse Analytics – for providing scholarships for the students to complete the MMI eLearning program.
2014 Gateway to Leadership Case Study Winners
Team Principal (pictured above)
Back row (L to R) – Tochukwa “Joshua” Nwozor, Lawer Angmor-Teye, Sanford Booth, II
Front row (L to R) – Aleesa Carrington, Terae Sweeting