VERMILLION, S.D. -- When it comes to managing finances, students from The University of South Dakota Beacom School of Business are managing quite well as they prepare for financial careers after college.
In December 2010, eight USD students took the Bloomberg Assessment Test while four additional students were tested in April. The Bloomberg Assessment Test is a global online exam that the Bloomberg Institute has developed in partnership with premier financial institutions and university faculty around the world. Not only did the students from the Beacom School of Business perform extremely well when compared to candidates from other schools, students David Janssen of Pipestone, Minn., Ryan Thimjon of Sioux Falls, S.D., and Michael Smith of Montrose, S.D. ranked in the top 20 (out of 1,046 participants). In fact, Janssen and Thimjon ranked fifth and seventh nationally, and USD is the only school to end up with three students ranked so highly compared with other fourth-year finance undergrads in the United States taking the exam.
According to Angeline Lavin, Ph.D., C.F.A., professor of finance and director of the M.B.A. and M.P.A. programs at USD, fall 2010 was the first time that USD students took the BAT. Overall, she explained, the BAT measures a student’s analytical, verbal and math skills along with knowledge on various aspects of finance. Some of the additional schools that participated in the exam included the University of Pennsylvania, New York University, Rutgers University and the University of Notre Dame.
It’s not a coincidence that three USD students are ranked in the top 20, according to Lavin and other members of the Finance faculty. Janssen, Thimjon and Smith are either current or former office holders of Coyote Capital Management or the Coyote Investment Club. Both student-run organizations provide Beacom students with an opportunity to apply what they’re learning in the classroom to managing an investment portfolio.
“USD is the only business program in the state of South Dakota to have students managing a substantial sum of money,” added Yewmun Yip, Ph.D., associate professor of finance.
Alumnus Brett Durick, a 2005 USD graduate who will earn his M.B.A. from the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia later this month, credits his time as portfolio manager of the Coyote Capital Management for developing the tools necessary to be successful during his post-college career.
“Coyote Capital Management gave me the confidence to speak about investing and company research. From day one on the job, I was comfortable navigating SEC filings, Equity research and other sources,” said Durick, originally from Pierre, S.D. “It was also a great learning lab for public speaking. Each week we would come in front other very intelligent students and had to defend our invest theses. I still use many of these skills when I add my opinion or am asked for my advice from co-workers or clients.”
Coyote Capital Management was created in 2001 thanks to a gift from Larry Ness of First Dakota National Bank. CCM is a student-managed investment fund developed to help students learn how to generate long-term capital appreciation. Janssen is the current president of Coyote Capital Management, which oversees three portfolios: a Student Portfolio, an International Portfolio and a USD Foundation Portfolio. The Student Portfolio has more than $70,000 in capital thanks to individual donations while the International Portfolio and USD Foundation Portfolio have $640,000 in assets through endowments such as the USD Beacom School of Business’ International Program endowment and USD Foundation endowment.
The Coyote Investment Club was created in 1997 to help members learn how to analyze stocks and make investment decisions. CIC manages a portfolio worth more than $85,000 as members, which includes faculty and staff in addition to students, contribute monthly.