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Anne Auer
Kelley School of Business

Cathy Yingling
Caldwell VanRiper

Last modified: Monday, October 15, 2012

Knall-Cohen Fund offers IU Kelley School of Business students real-world experience

Oct. 15, 2012

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- A new class of students enrolled in the Indiana University Kelley School of Business' Investment Management Workshop have begun acting as analysts for the Knall-Cohen Investment Fund, established through a $100,000 donation in 2010 from IU alumni David Knall and Jeff Cohen.

Kelley School of Business

Kelley School of Business in Bloomington

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Knall and Cohen are managing directors of the Indianapolis office of Stifel Nicolaus, a full-service investment advisory, banking and brokerage firm. They started the Knall-Cohen Investment Fund to allow Kelley finance students to invest real money in an asset portfolio management class.

"Knowing that they are responsible for making investment recommendations for an actual fund makes a tremendous difference in how students approach this class," said Robert Jennings, the Gregg T. and Judith A. Summerville Professor of Finance and instructor of the Investment Management Workshop. "We're offering these students real-world experience, which prepares them for internships and eventually careers in investment management."

Workshop participants are typically in their junior year. Participants are challenged to evaluate potential companies to invest in across a variety of industry sectors, conducting equity research and fundamental security analysis while developing a structured financial decision process. Once they've developed their recommendation, each student gives a 15-minute presentation to the fund's board of directors, composed of Knall, Cohen and other investment professionals and faculty, followed by a 15-minute question-and-answer session.

"The presentation is another opportunity for students to develop their public speaking skills and ability to think on their feet and answer questions," Jennings said.

Cohen and Knall

Photo by Ann Schertz

Jeff Cohen and David Knall

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"I've been incredibly impressed with the presentations I've seen from the workshop participants over the past two years," Knall said. "We started the fund because we recognized a need for more financial education among students, not only to help them prepare for potential careers in investment management, but also to help them compete in a global economy. Students who've come through the program so far are going on to pursue interesting opportunities."

One such student is Mohsin Mukhtar, a Wells Scholar at IU who is majoring in international health care and development policy and Arabic, who completed the workshop last winter. Also a student in IU's Liberal Arts and Management Program, Mukhtar experienced a steeper learning curve than many of the business majors in the class, but he was able to use the analytical skills he had developed through his science background and apply them to evaluating companies in the biotech and pharmaceutical industries.

"This experience allowed me to bring all of my interests together: science, finance and investments," Mukhtar said. "I developed an in-depth understanding of the biotech industry and learned various valuation techniques and gained an appreciation for both sound analysis and good luck in successful stock-picking."

Mukhtar was able to parlay his experience in the workshop to secure an internship last summer with a leading biotech/pharma equity research group. He agrees that having real money to invest makes a meaningful difference in how students approach this class.

"It adds excitement to the class," he said. "You want to see the fund do well, so that future students have the opportunity to work with the fund, as well."

Since its inception, the fund is down 4 percent vs. the S&P 500 Index, which is down 1 percent over the same period. The Knall-Cohen Investment Fund is administered through the IU Foundation, which has ultimate responsibility for the investments in the fund; however, the investment decisions are left largely in the hands of the students participating in the workshop.

More information about the Investment Management Workshop, including application information, is available at its website.

About David Knall and Jeff Cohen

Knall and Cohen are managing directors of Stifel Nicolaus' Indianapolis office. Formed in 1969, the office's 10-person team, the Knall/Cohen Group, provides investment management and advisory services to a national client base including affluent families, foundations and endowments. The Knall/Cohen Group has more than $6 billion in assets under management and offers a wide breadth of services, including investment management for equities, hedge funds, taxable fixed income, municipal bonds and cash management strategies. In addition, the team provides investment consulting services through Stifel Nicolaus, which includes investment research on investment managers, asset allocation and performance reporting for clients.

About the Kelley School of Business

For nearly 90 years -- first in Bloomington and later in Indianapolis, online and for top companies -- IU's Kelley School of Business has prepared students to lead organizations, start companies, develop new products and services, and shape business knowledge and policy. Its programs are consistently ranked among the best in the nation, its faculty members are internationally recognized for their teaching and thought leadership, and businesses worldwide hire its highly qualified graduates.