In 2022, nearly two hundred students applied to be part of the Ghosal Fund, the asset management initiative run by the Lancaster University Investment and Finance Society.
Part of the reason it’s so competitive to join the Fund is the career success it gives its members.
Economics and Finance student, Taylor Wood, is President of the Investment and Finance Society. He says around 40% of members secure internships or grad scheme places every year in areas like investment banking, asset management, consulting, and real estate.
“The people who join the Fund, you’re like, toss of a coin, going to end up in a fantastic job.”
The society selects 50 analysts each year to join the Ghosal Fund. The analysts are divided into teams which each cover a different sector of the market. Every two weeks, the teams deliver a pitch to the other members of the Fund where they recommend a stock they’ve researched.
Taylor recalls being part of the Media and Telecoms team. He describes how his team would share their research tasks.
“You kind of divide up the tasks so one person might be responsible for looking into things like the ESG reports, what a company’s doing for sustainability, how well they treat their employees, diversity and inclusion.”
“Someone else might be looking into the SWOT analysis, how they interact with competitors.”
“And one of the most important pieces was completing the DCF, which is the discounted cash flow valuation.”
“Doing all these different elements and putting it together normally takes about a week and a half.”
“And then the last couple of days before the pitch you practise and you refine and you work on your public speaking and how you are going to present different elements to the Fund.”
Students in the Fund regularly celebrate each other’s success in landing internships and jobs.
Taylor thinks a big reason for these successes is the networking opportunities the Investment and Finance Society provides.
The Lancaster Forum is the main event in the society’s calendar. The conference brings together hundreds of students to meet with experienced finance professionals.
It’s the largest student-run conference outside of London.
At the 2023 Lancaster Forum, the Ghosal Fund’s quant team had the opportunity to chat with Deutsche Bank’s Global Head of Quantitative Investment Research.
“It turned into a bit of a lecture. The guy was writing formulas on the whiteboards and doing loads of graphs.”
Another reason for the success stories coming out of the Ghosal Fund is the Investment and Finance Society’s relationship with its corporate sponsors.
The society’s main sponsor is Jefferies, an American Fortune 1000 financial services company.
“We’re sending so far two people to their summer internship, but Jefferies will only take ten.”
“So 20% of that intake is coming from our society. And that’s an incredible statistic.”
“I don’t have access to their records so I don’t know, but I would argue that is probably more from one individual organisation than any other.”
Taylor gives a surprising take on how the Ghosal Fund measures its success.
You might think the fund managers would be satisfied if the value of the fund were to increase.
But that’s only part of how the Fund measures whether they’ve done a good job.
“If you have an analyst in your team and he starts the year knowing nothing and finishes the year with a very deep and insightful understanding of corporate finance issues and valuation techniques, and you know, they’re very aware of what’s going on in the market, then that is a success right? Even if every stock they pitch goes down in value.”
The Ghosal Fund is the Investment and Finance society’s most popular initiative.
The society’s other initiatives are: the Sell Side Institute, an investment banking initiative, McCormick Consulting, which focuses on the consulting industry, and Access, the society’s diversity and inclusion initiative.
Taylor says people who want to be Ghosal Fund analysts shouldn’t be put off applying if they don’t have experience valuing stocks or doing similar activities.
“If you look at the Ghosal Fund this year, 50% of the current cohort are first year students who have no experience whatsoever.”
“The thing we’re looking for is passion. We want people to be really enthusiastic about this.”
This article is part of a series celebrating the student communities that make Lancaster University Management School distinctive.