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M.A. Wright Fund

Rice University's Jones Graduate School of Business’ student-run M.A. Wright Fund continues to generate impressive returns and win numerous competitions. Comprised of students selected through a rigorous application and interview process, the fund provides Rice MBA students with a hands-on opportunity to learn, develop and apply effective stock analysis and portfolio management risk and return techniques.

M.A. Wright Fund

The Fund’s outstanding performance supports $75,000 annually in scholarships. The Wright Fund was crowned Highest Risk-Adjusted Graduate Portfolio Return in 2019 and placed 2nd in 2020 against more than 50 MBA programs at the student investment conference QGAME in New York City. Previously, the Fund won the Highest Return five years in a row (2013-2017) against other graduate portfolios in the same style category.

In 2018, a team of Wright Fund students won the CFA Institute’s Research Challenge (IRC) – Southwest U.S. and advanced to the IRC Americas Semi-Finals. In the Southwest U.S. competition, the Wright Fund team’s combined score of the written research report and oral presentation was judged superior to 10 other finalist teams from an original field of 25 universities. Wright Fund students previously won the regional IRC competition in 2007, 2011, and 2014 as well as placing 2nd in 2013. Please see the listing below for more details on Wright Fund “Awards and Accolades”.

CFA IRC - SW US Winning Team 2018
(L-R) Ashish Kulkarni, Charlsea Lamb, Pratik Seta,and Eivind Moen
CFA IRC - SW US Winning Team 2014
(L-R) Aries Arifien, Jane Wang, Nael Ashour, Jamie Bullon and Professor Jill Foote

The Wright Fund curriculum is designed for students with a sincere interest in the markets who plan to pursue a career in finance. The fund is a two-semester commitment, with half of the approximately 25 enrolled students rolling off each semester to provide for its continuity. In the first semester, students perform intensive research and analysis of individual stocks, making transaction recommendations for the entire fund’s consideration. Second semester Wright Fund members serve as ‘portfolio managers’ responsible for the allocation, strategy and risk-return management of one or two equity sectors. Two of the second semester students serve as elected officers to manage the fund under the guidance of Jill Foote, CFA, Ph.D., Director of the Fund, The officers for this school year are:

Fall 2021
Chief Investment Officer David Hicks
Chief Economist Chris Ruffer

Each year, first-year students are invited to apply and interview for a position in the fund. During the selection process, candidates research and analyze a publicly traded company and make a buy, hold or sell recommendation. Candidates are encouraged to use Bloomberg and FactSet, published research reports, individual analysis and other resources to determine their final recommendations.

The Wright Fund's home base for investment analysis and performance monitoring is the Finance Center, which provides students with access to state-of-the-art research resources and analytical software. Students get hands-on experience using extensive data sources and powerful analytical tools such as Bloomberg, FactSet and @Risk. Using these resources, along with a number of student-developed tools, Wright Fund students conduct extensive industry-wide and company-specific fundamental research, value companies using multiple state-of-the-art methodologies, and construct optimized sector portfolios based on sophisticated risk and return analysis.

The Fund runs a diversified portfolio with 20 to 25 stocks and style (value vs. growth) and capitalization can vary with market conditions. Guest speakers from local investment firms regularly visit the class and offer strategic insights and professional experiences. The Fund is also frequently host to conferences including the 17th annual Texas Investment Portfolio Symposium (TIPS) which was held on February 21-22, 2020 at the Jones School. The Wright Fund previously hosted the 2004 (inaugural), 2005, 2009, 2011, 2013, and 2015 TIPS conferences.

The fund also has ongoing interactions with members of its Oversight Board, which is comprised of senior local investment professionals. Many fund members get actively involved in the CFA Society of Houston (CFAH). The 3rd annual CFAH-Rice Private Wealth Management Symposium and the 2nd annual CFA Texas Investor Symposium were held at the business school on November 14, 2014 and February 20, 2015 respectively.

The M.A. Wright Fund was established in 1995 with a generous gift from the family of Myron "Mike" A. Wright, the former president of Exxon (now ExxonMobil). Mr. Wright was also one of the business school's original Council of Overseers members. 

For Rice Business students, the Wright Fund offers the opportunity to make real decisions. 

Awards and Accolades

  • Wright Fund students have won the CFA Institute Research Challenge – Southwest U.S. at the Texas Investment Portfolio Symposium the most times of any university
    • In 2018 and 2014, the Wright Fund team won the Research Challenge SW advancing to Americas Semi-Finals both years
    • In 2020 and 2013, the Wright Fund team placed 2nd in the Research Challenge SW
    • In 2013, the Wright Fund team placed 2nd in IRC – SW US, advancing to IRC – Americas Quarter Finals
    • In 2011, the Wright Fund team won the IRC – Texas (as it was then called) and advanced to the Americas Semi-Finals
    • Wright Fund students won the inaugural IRC–TX in 2007 and were regional finalists in 2019, 2017, 2016 and 2009
  • The Fund was crowned Highest Graduate Return in 2019 and placed 2nd in 2020 against more than 50 MBA programs at the student investment conference QGAME in New York City. Previously, the Fund won the Highest Return five years in a row (2013-2017) against other graduate portfolios in the same style category
  • The Rice MBA is typically ranked among the top ten globally in finance by the Financial Times

Board of Overseers

M.A. Wright Fund - Fall 2021

Peter Rodriguez, Ph.D.
Dean, Jones Graduate School of Business
Rice University

Allison Kendrick Thacker (Rice BA ’96)
Chief Investment Officer and President
Rice Management Company

Todd Centurino, CFA (Rice MBA ’07)
AVP, Investments 
Memorial Hermann Health System

John Gualy, CFA (Rice MBA ’99)
Eagle Global Advisors

Ronald Joe, CFA, CFP (Rice BA ’81)
Senior Portfolio Manager
Frost Investment Advisors

Mark McMeans, CFA, CPA (Rice MBA ’92)
Chief Executive Officer
Brasada Capital Management

Lee Partridge, CFA (Rice MBA ’92)
Chief Investment Officer Emeritus
Salient Partners

Larry Perez
Vice President for Investments and Associate Treasurer
Rice Management Company

Rob Royall, CFA, CPA (Rice BA ’82, MBA ’84)
Partner Emeritus
Ernst & Young

Pat Swanson, CFA, CIC
Advisory Partner
Trinity Private Equity Group

Dan Watson, Ph.D. (Rice Ph.D. ’77)
Chairman and Chief Investment Officer Emeritus
Capstone Financial Services

Elizabeth D. Williams, CFA, Ph.D.
(Rice MBA ’79, M. Accounting ’80, Ph.D. ’82)
Co-Chief Investment Officer Emeritus
Legacy Trust Company

Scott Wise (Rice BA ’71)
President and Treasurer
The Cullen Foundation