Fund Appears on CNBC
The Smith School received national
attention January 23 when members of the
school's Mayer Fund appeared on CNBC's
Power Lunch. The MBA students, who
manage the fund to gain "real world"
experience, were interviewed on the
nationally televised program during a
two-day field trip to New York City.
Students Suzanne Pardue, one of the
fund's three portfolio managers, and
Will Thorpe, a technology analyst, spoke
for the group during the live,
six-minute interview, while the other
fund members appeared behind them.
CNBC host Bill Griffeth peppered
Pardue and Thorpe with questions about
the Mayer Fund and the group's recent
stock picks. Griffeth seemed
particularly impressed that the Mayer
Fund, which has nearly $1 million in
assets, outpaced the S&P 500 and the Dow
during the fourth quarter of 2001.
Pardue and Thorpe attributed the
quarter's growth - more than 12% - to
such stock picks as Liz Claiborne Inc.
"They're a strong brand name through
their Liz Claiborne brand as well as
Villager and Crazy Horse. They've been
very successful in diversifying their
product offerings through acquisitions,
particularly in the non-apparel
wholesale arena," Pardue told CNBC
The students were also asked about
their stock picks in the troubled
we purchased IBM, we were impressed with
the strength of the management team
overall - the depth of the management
team - as well as the fact that in these
tough times in the technology sector,
this is a large company that can weather
any downturn," Thorpe noted.
The CNBC appearance was just one stop
for the MBA students who were in New
York primarily to meet with Smith School
alumni and others working on Wall Street
as portfolio analysts, fund managers,
and investment bankers. The annual field
trip to New York is part of the Mayer
Fund program, which was established in
1993 under the guidance of then-dean
William Mayer. Initially called the
Terrapin Fund, the student-managed
portfolio was re-named in 1999 in
recognition of Dean Mayer's commitment
and contributions to the fund.
The fund started with a $250,000
contribution from the College of
Business and Management Foundation and
has grown through outside contributions
and favorable returns. Each year, it is
managed by a new group of second-year
MBA students selected by their
predecessors. In addition to Pardue and
Thorpe, this year's fund members include
Mike Daley, Tim Devlin, Chris Dochat,
Jason Glass, Keith Horrigan, Kevin
Mason, Irina Smirnova McCreadie, Marlene
McNamee, Marci Mutti, and Andrew Widman.
The goal of the Mayer Fund is to
achieve capital appreciation by
capturing superior returns that equity
investments have historically provided.
The fund's long-term performance goal is
to outpace the appreciation of the S&P
500. The struggling economy has given
this year's managers an especially
challenging task - along with a great
opportunity to learn.
"Throughout most of the 1990s, asset
allocation was far more important than
security selection. Now, fund managers
must be good at asset allocation and
security selection," says faculty
advisor Meg VanDeWeghe. "Not all stocks
will do well. This means that there
needs to be a return to good
old-fashioned fundamental analysis."
It appears these MBA students are
mastering that good old-fashioned
analysis - and drawing attention to the
strengths of the Smith School MBA
program along the way.