Another Winning Season for Jones School Finance Students

This year, members of the Jones School Finance Club and M.A. Wright Investment Fund added more wins to their trophy case, landing first place in two of the country’s top competitions.

Students bested their competitors in the 16th annual Rolanette and Berdon Lawrence Competition at Tulane University, and a team of M. A. Wright Fund officers also won first place at the Portfolio Manager’s Competition at the Texas Investment Portfolio Symposium (TIPS) held this year at University of Texas at Dallas. The Wright Fund, a student-run live investment portfolio, also placed second in QGAME, a return competition held in New York City.


The Rolanette and Berdon Lawrence Case Competition

In the Tulane competition, as it’s called, teams are given five hours to analyze a case before presenting their financial and strategic analysis to a panel of finance industry professionals. Students present for 20 minutes and then field questions from the judges. “The competition gave students a chance to apply much of what they’d learned in class, which is a credit to the course load,” says Brian Walker ’12, a Wright Fund officer who will soon begin his post-MBA career at JP Morgan.

Teammate Teresa Mattamouros ’12 agrees. She believes that participation in Finance Club and participation in the Wright Fund helped give the team an edge. “We worked as a group a long time beforehand, so we knew how we worked together best. When placed in a situation in which we had a lot to get done in a short time and to present in front of a tough panel of judges with difficult questions, we were able to do it in part because we didn’t have to struggle with group dynamics.”

Competitor schools included Tulane University, Vanderbilt University, University of Texas at Dallas, University of North Carolina and Emory University.

The TIPS Competition

In the finals of this Texas competition, teams pitched their portfolio management process to a panel of investment professionals in much the same way investment firms try to win institutional business. According to Walker, who served as chief economist of the Wright Fund and in the portfolio competition, “We briefed the panel on our philosophy behind managing the portfolio. It was like selling to the institution’s investors why they should trust us with their money. It was very challenging.”

This year, Rice students competed against four finalist universities, including Baylor University, University of Houston, Texas Christian University and Trinity University. Rice will host next year’s TIPS competition on February 16, 2013.

More than the Thrill of Victory

Professor Jill Foote, sponsor of the Finance Club for the past 10 years, explains “These events are very competitive. They require intelligence, diligence and awesome presentation skills. The students’ wins are a tangible, visible manifestation of what we’ve done in educating them and how well they have prepared themselves for real working environments.”

Rice students have consistently placed or won these competitions in the past five years. But for Mattamouros, the Tulane win was special. “This was my fifth competition and the first where I placed,” she explains. “As Oprah would say, it was a full-circle moment.” Mattamouros will begin her post-MBA career with Morgan Stanley this fall, where she interned last summer.

M. Yvonne Taylor