This spring marks my 13th year serving as the academic advisor to the Henry Fund and Krause Fund programs. Yet, my personal history with these student-managed investment funds dates back even further.
As a second-year MBA student in the spring of 1994, I was a member of the inaugural Henry Fund analyst team and served as one of the fund’s consumer discretionary analysts. I issued a “buy” rating on Chrysler Corp. that semester, and the fund took a small position in the stock. But, this holding did not last for very long in the portfolio; it was sold the following semester by the next analyst team. While this may not say too much about my stock picking abilities, the trade did result in a small gain for the fund, so I am able to at least say that I contributed something to fund’s strong 18-year historical performance.
My most intense memory of this tenure as a Henry Fund analyst was the final investment presentation to the fund’s advisory board. Although only three board members were in attendance, this did not limit their critique of my investment thesis for Chrysler. In fact, they raked me over the coals for a good 15-20 minutes. The most aggressive questions came from Cathy Zaharis, who at that time was a portfolio manager for Principal Global Investors in Des Moines. Cathy now serves as the Director of the Finance Career Academy in full-time MBA program. While I am not sure if Cathy remembers that day as vividly, it certainly had a lasting impact on my experience, even if a bit traumatic at the time.
After completing my MBA, I enrolled in the Ph.D. program at Iowa. For the next four years of my doctoral studies, I served as a graduate assistant for Doug Foster, who was the initial Henry Fund professor. My primary duties were to provide administrative support for the back office operations of the fund.
Looking back on these experiences, it is hard to believe that I have been directly or indirectly involved with the Henry Fund for nearly every year of its 18-year existence. It has been exciting to watch the fund and its management process evolve, while sticking close to its original founding principles. I feel fortunate to have had an opportunity to be so closely involved with this history.