AIM program adapts to new space in O’Brien Hall

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Photo by Alex DeBuhr

The new AIM lab is located on the first floor of the new O’Brien Hall.

Finance majors at Marquette have the opportunity to join the Applied Investment Management program and receive hands-on experience with financial analysis.

There are two paths that an AIM student could go down: investments or private equity and banking.

In the new College of Business Administration’s O’Brien Hall, there’s a room on the first floor dedicated to the AIM program fully furnished with several televisions, a stock ticker and new monitors. Students within the program can take classes there, do their work and hang out.

James Valentine, director of the AIM program and associate professor of practice, said students apply for the program for their sophomore year of school and take related courses in their junior and senior years.

“We’re not just reading a textbook and then taking the theory and try to understand it, we’re actually taking information and market data and analyzing companies, analyzing stock, valuing them and arriving at whether a company should be bought or sold in the portfolio based on their work,” Valentine said.

The AIM program manages a part of Marquette’s endowment fund, Jackson Bogli, a junior in the College of Business Administration, said it’s around $3 million.

Bogli described the AIM program as managing a student investment management account with Marquette.

“We perform all the research on companies, all of the company profiling and valuation of a company and then the end product of it is we’ll end up doing a pitch to the AIM program and we’ll either say ‘You should buy this stock, you should sell this stock,'” Bogli said.

From there, Bogli said the entire AIM program votes on the pitch. If people approve, the pitch will be added to the portfolio.

Within the portfolio, Charlielu Hua, a junior in the College of Business Administration, said there are industries and sectors that each student is assigned, and they’ll conduct research, pitch new stocks and then ultimately buy or sell.

Currently, Valentine said there are about 107 students involved in the AIM program.

Valentine said the advantage of being a part of an organization such as the AIM program is having better job opportunities after students graduate college. Valentine also said that 100% of the students involved with AIM have found a job after receiving their undergraduate degree at Marquette.

Ella Coulter, a junior in the College of Business Administration, said one aspect that enticed her to join the program was the alumni network that AIM provides.

“AIM has an incredible alumni network that allows you to tap into those connections and a lot of AIM alumni only hire AIM students out of college which is amazing. It’s such a benefit of being in the program,” Coulter said.

However, Coulter was not always interested in AIM. Coulter said she first started out as a supply chain major, but switched to finance and then joined the program.

Coulter said that being able to work on the stock pitches and having a professor like Valentine who was a top ten analyst on Wall Street is an amazing opportunity. Coulter also said being able to work in a cohort with other students allows for a lot of team work.

“I actually just worked on an investment banking competition with three other AIM students and we’re going to a final round in Canada and I wouldn’t of had that opportunity without being in AIM,” Coulter said.

Hua said he wanted to join AIM because of the real-world experience that is offered.

“The most valuable part about AIM is what we do outside of the classes,” Hua said. “We’re doing real research on companies, we’re making real valuations and doing all of what you would do in an actual job.”

Bogli said he joined the program for similar reasons as Hua. Bogli said through AIM, they learn how to network and how the real work environment operates.

Aside from the experience that the AIM program offers, Bogli enjoys the camaraderie of AIM. Bogli said the program having their own room in the college, and knowing everybody is one of his favorite aspects of AIM.

“For me, it’s just that feeling of belonging to the program and everyone around you is there, we’re all doing it together and we’re all working towards that same goal of being good money managers,” Bogli said.

Previously in Straz Hall, Coulter said the AIM room was really “isolating” and “small.”

“Now we have this very big open space— it’s on the first floor and it’s powered with all new monitors. There’s TVs everywhere so it’s been really nice for all of us AIM students. I’ve been working in there like everyday,” Coulter said.

Coulter said her favorite part about the AIM program is the people she works with.

“Finance is very competitive and difficult but like any job the people you work with is what makes it worth it,” Coulter said. “Even working on the investment banking case, having a great team is what made it so fun and impactful so and what ultimately led to our success. Definitely the people, we have like the most strong, dedicated, hardworking people in the AIM program.”

This story was written by Julia Abuzzahab. She can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @juliaabuz.