Some people want a condo in Florida when they retire. Others would prefer a fishing shack in the Cascades. Whatever the goal, Sean Copus, MBA ’12, is one of the guys making sure they reach it.
Thanks to the Oregon MBA program, Copus landed his dream job as an analyst for Pension Consulting Alliance, an investment consulting firm that advises private and public pension funds. Between the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, the Directors Guild of America, and fifty other companies, the firm has a say in the future of $500 billion in assets.
“My job is dynamic in the sense that I get to learn about a lot of different areas of investing rather than focusing on one small aspect of it,” Copus said. “Right now, I’m building performance reports for several clients, which includes giving my opinions on whether they should keep or replace several underperforming mutual funds in their portfolios. Next week I could be doing something similar or completely different.”
“I enjoy the process of getting raw data and turning it into a report that answers big questions for our clients,” he added.“Plus I regularly meet with investment managers from across the world. It’s cool to be able to pick the brains of successful professional investors with decades of experience.”
When Sean started at the Lundquist College of Business in 2010 he thought he wanted to be a stock analyst. A summer as an equity analyst intern changed his mind. Exploring career options to find the best fit is, after all, what an MBA program is all about.
“I used to be a fund accountant at a bank, and I did the same thing every day,” Copus explained. “As a stock analyst, you research stocks, and once you build your model and recommend something, you move on to the next one and do the same thing. I wanted to work somewhere that was the complete opposite.”
He says the Oregon MBA opened his eyes to all the things he could do with his degree, and helped him make the connections he needed to get the type of job he sought.
“Every time the college had a guest speaker, we could go out to dinner with the speaker and talk to him or her in a small group. It gave me exposure to a whole bunch of different jobs in the investment industry—a lot of which I didn’t know existed,” he said. “One time a wealth manager with the Seattle branch of UBS came in to talk, and the program manager of the Finance and Securities Analysis Center mentioned that I might be interested in working in wealth management. I got to sit down and do an informal interview for a spot on his team. Those kinds of impromptu opportunities were great.”
It also gave him some real-world experience as a money manager.
“One of the things that drew me to the University of Oregon was the Emerging Market Equity Portfolio, a student-run fund where you manage real money as an investment manager.”
As the group’s portfolio manager, Copus oversaw all the fund's investments, mostly in emerging market countries such as Brazil, China, and India.
“The experience looked great on my resume,” he noted. “People commented on how impressive that was when I went on job interviews.”