Prompted by the financial industry's future trajectory, as well as its current needs, and inspired by the Lundquist College’s vision statement, the college’s Finance and Securities Analysis Center (FSAC) is carving two new paths within its finance track: values-aligned investing and long-horizon investment management.
For current students in the college's undergraduate and MBA programs, these paths will open a host of new career opportunities. Looking to future enrollment in the Oregon MBA program, both paths will differentiate FSAC's offerings on the national stage.
This philosophy of investing aims to achieve strong financial returns while pursuing environmental and societal goals. It is an overarching category that includes impact investing as well as the idea of creating value for a broader category of stakeholders, rather than simply focusing on shareholders.
The approach has moved rapidly into the mainstream. Earlier in February, the world’s largest asset manager—BlackRock Inc.—announced BlackRock Impact, a new initiative that will bring together its current impact investing offerings and create new, similarly themed products.
Meanwhile, high-profile corporate leaders like Salesforce’s Marc Benioff and Unilever’s Paul Polman have publicly supported the idea of moving from the narrower concept of shareholder value to embrace a broader vision of stakeholder value, in which corporate management is accountable to a wider swath of constituents that includes customers, employees, suppliers, and the environment, among others.
Attuned early on to this evolution in thinking, for the past several years the Lundquist College has offered a popular course in impact investing. This spring it will be offered again, and FSAC program manager Michele Henney plans to make related courses available in the future.
Although employers are motivated to hire graduates who are well-versed in this style of investing—and MBA students are eager to study it—surprisingly few schools in the United States offer the specialty. On the West Coast, the only institution to offer a comparable track is the Haas School of Business at the University of California.
“Alumni around the country currently working in finance, our faculty, and the prospective students I speak with—all of them are very clear that values-aligned investing is a smart and profitable path for us to follow,” said Henney.
Long-Horizon Investment Management
Predicted to grow significantly in the coming decades, long-horizon investment management focuses on managing assets and investments for individuals and organizations with the goal of achieving wealth for the long term. Typical job titles include financial planner, financial analyst, financial advisor, wealth manager, and asset manager.
The college's finance curriculum has already expanded to include career preparation for these fields. Last spring, FSAC announced that the finance track of both the Oregon MBA and undergraduate business programs had been accepted into the CFA Institute University Recognition Program. This recognition means that graduates are well prepared to sit for the CFA Institute’s three rigorous exams and earn the right to add the CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) designation to their credentials.
Future steps for FSAC include submitting the college's financial curriculum to the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) Board in order to become a registered program. This will enable finance students to sit for the CFP exam soon after graduation—or even while they are still in school.
Overlapping Paths Open New Doors
"Both paths start with the idea of financial stewardship, which is a key element of the college's vision statement," said Henney. "And both paths overlap. Values-aligned investing is something that more and more clients ask for from their financial managers."
Henney is quick to make clear that the two paths are not meant to replace FSAC's core finance offerings. Rather, they will serve as add-ons to the current curriculum.
“If someone wants to go straight from here to working 120 hour weeks on Wall Street—as so many of our graduates have—they’ll have all the tools to do that,” said Henney. “But for other finance students, these paths will open up new career doors.”