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Rice MBA team wins Portfolio Manager's Competition

A team of Rice students took top honors in the Portfolio Manager's Finalist Competition at the Texas Investment Portfolio Symposium (TIPS) 2009 conference hosted by the Jones School on February 21. The annual conference, which attracted more than 185 participants this year, provides students and faculty from Texas and Southwest an opportunity to learn from and interact with investment industry professionals.

The winning Rice team included Bryan Lester '09 and Charley Donaldson '09, the current Chief Investment Officer and Chief Economist of the M.A. Wright Fund, the MBA student-managed investment portfolio. The two won the competition over finalists from Baylor, Tulane, and University of Houston based on having the best investment process ‘pitch’ to a panel of judges.

The conference held a second competition, CFA Institute's Investment Research Challenge - Texas, in which student teams gave presentations to a panel of judges on their research of company Carbo Ceramics. Another Rice team comprised of Class of '09 students Lindsay Crossin, Manav Gupta, Jon Hook, Dave Merchant, and Will Shen, competed against other finalist teams including A&M, Texas Tech, and UT, and others. The competition was tight with A&M ultimately being named the winner.

“The Jones School is well known for its strength in finance, and Texas, especially Houston, is a breeding ground for finance and investment professionals,” said Jill Foote, lecturer of management, who also serves as director of the El Paso Corporation Finance Center; the M.A. Wright Fund; and as the faculty advisor of the Rice Finance Club.

“In this difficult economic climate, the Jones School was thrilled to be able to foster a much-needed learning and networking environment for students, faculty, and experienced industry leaders. We would like to thank all participants for contributing to the success of the conference, and especially to recognize our student teams and our student conference co-chairs, Drew Laxton '09 and Mason Woodard '09 for being outstanding representatives of the Jones School.

The conference included an array of senior investment professionals from Texas investment management firms paneling two discussions — Energy Markets and Investment Professionals. Other senior-level executives also served as judges for the competitions.

This year’s conference, which marked its sixth year, garnered many sponsors including Platinum-level sponsor The CFA Societies of Texas (Austin, Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio). The Jones School will host the TIPS conference again in 2011.