The Applied Investment Management (AIM) course was created in the fall of 1995 to give Notre Dame students the opportunity to participate in live portfolio management while developing their financial analysis skills through rigorous, fundamental equity research. AIM is comprised of 25-30 students (typically undergraduates during the fall semester and MBA / MSA candidates in the spring semester), hand-picked by the professors from a competitive applicant pool. The selected students-turned-analysts are then charged with the research and decision making process required to manage a live portfolio of approximately $10.0 million.
Throughout the semester, the AIM analysts are required to complete a series of reports on two stocks: one stock which is already in the portfolio and one stock the analyst chooses from outside of the portfolio. These reports include company overviews, industry overviews, earnings estimates, relative value comparisons and discounted cash flow models. Brought together, these reports culminate in the analyst’s final recommendation of a buy or sell based on his/her valuation when compared to the current price of the security. The analysts then collectively vote on what stocks to buy or sell for the portfolio, and the designated analysts assist in trade execution. The entire body of work is designed to mimic the portfolio management process of a hedge fund manager with a specific emphasis on comprehensive equity research.
In addition to their fundamental security analysis, the analysts work together in groups throughout the semester to produce economic and performance reports to capture other important aspects of portfolio management. At the end of the semester, the analysts also formally present their findings and decisions to the AIM Advisory Board, a select group of AIM alumni and Notre Dame Board of Trustee Investment Committee Members.
One of the most unique aspects of the AIM experience is the class trips. At least once during the semester, the analysts travel to a major city such as Boston, Chicago or New York to visit with industry professionals, many of whom are partners with the Notre Dame Investment Office. Past trips include visits with Bain & Company, Fidelity, Goldman Sachs, Madison Dearborn Capital Partners, and Tiger Management. The trips are a tremendous opportunity for the analysts to learn about career opportunities and increase their exposure to some of the top talent in the industry across a variety of asset classes.