Class of '15 sees immediate dividends from Archway Investment Fund experience
“From my first moment on campus, I knew I wanted to participate in the Archway Investment Fund (AIF),” says Brent Lavitt ’15, of Rye Brook, NY. “I wanted to study business and I had followed the market, so having that real-world experience was very appealing to me.”
Now entering its second decade, the AIF is a distinctive two-course curriculum that enables students to manage an investment fund and acquire real-world investment experiences, as well as make meaningful connections with alumni and others working on Wall Street. The intense demands – and opportunities – inherent in the AIF program set students up for professional success, especially – but not exclusively – for those pursuing finance careers.
The demanding program sharpens participants' skills in teamwork, oral presentations and market research; employers take notice.
Although International Business major Neha Moolchandani ’15 and Lavitt are not currently working in finance, both credit their AIF experiences with their positive transitions into the working world.
Thanks to AIF, which requires students make frequent presentations to classmates and professors, Moolchandani overcame her fear of public speaking. Now a Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC) associate, Moolchandani, of Accra, Ghana, works frequently in teams with colleagues and clients. AIF and other Bryant classes “had teamwork and group projects that really helped me in my job, where we almost always work in teams,” she says. As an AIF team member focusing on the consumer products market, she learned to work effectively with different people and adjust to diverse work styles, skills that prepared her well for her current workplace.
In job interviews with financial services companies, the AIF was, Lavitt recalls, “a huge topic of discussion. The AIF is like an actual job; you get a year’s start on anyone else applying for that position,” says Lavitt, who held AIF leadership positions as a securities analyst and a portfolio manager.
Moolchandani believes that AIF made her a stronger, more effective PwC employee. In her Securities Analysis class, she honed her analytical skills and learned to evaluate issues, problems, and businesses from different perspectives. The AIF Portfolio Management class taught her to apply theoretical knowledge practically – an invaluable skill that is applicable in any workplace.
As a business development representative for NetSuite, a cloud-based business management software company, Lavitt finds AIF’s emphasis on effective teamwork, oral presentations and market research highly relevant. “A lot of business is team-related. You’re interacting with so many different individuals on a specific team; you have to be able to respond to whatever is thrown at you,” says Lavitt, whose research and public speaking skills helped him “sell a stock to the [AIF] professors and students” and now help him sell software to clients.
Of the robust and extensive community that comprises AIF alumni, Lavitt says succinctly, “It’s a network that won’t go away.”