Founded with a gift from Jeffrey Van Harte ’80 (B.A. business administration-finance), chairman and chief investment officer of Jackson Square Partners, Titan Capital Management at Cal State Fullerton gives students firsthand experience in securities analysis and portfolio management using real dollars.
Students pursue a rigorous application process to take part in TCM (formerly called the Applied Security Analysis Program). Beyond academic requirements, recommendations and interviews, applicants must develop and defend a research report for a designated company. Those accepted commit to three boot-camp sessions during the summer and roughly ten hours of work outside of class per week during the academic year.
TCM involves evaluating the economic landscape, researching investment ideas and preparing company analyses and stock/bond recommendations. Students challenge each other’s investment ideas so only the best ones are submitted to the advisory board for approval. And making good investments matters, because proceeds from the managed funds support a President’s Scholar at CSUF and the Mihaylo Tutoring Center.
Thus, students are put in a position where they need to make decisions and be held accountable for them. They engage in peer-to-peer learning and discover their abilities.
Kelly Ko, equity program director and lecturer in finance, explains, “It’s not just learning skills but how to approach decisions. We emphasize evidence-based decision making and integrity. Our graduates stand out with a sense of humility and focus on the goals of the firm and client rather than focus on being an individual ‘star’.”
TCM helps students grow personally and professionally, preparing them well for the workplace, and they know the work is worth it.
Mario Giron, senior in finance and information systems and decision sciences, says, “Instead of just reading stuff in textbooks, I wanted to apply this and learn from experiences before I enter the workforce. This program allows me to do this. And I’m held accountable for my actions. It’s not easy — the pressure and stress mimics the finance field.”
Vivian Tang, senior in finance, concurs. “I knew that TCM was going to really push me out of my boundaries. By surrounding myself with like-minded people constantly pushing us to do better, we’ll all grow as a team.”
And at the first-ever alumni gathering for TCM this past summer — which also included current TCM students — alumni confirmed that the program truly gives students an edge in the market, helping them get in the door and succeed.
Christian Alvarez ’14 (B.A. business administration-finance and accounting) from Edward Jones traveled from Tempe, AZ, to take part in the day. He shared that TCM students consistently score higher than 3.5 on their 4-point interviewing scale, and that managers at his firm have taken notice.
Laura Romine ’17 (B.A. business administration-finance) from PIMCO said, “Having TCM on your resume gets your foot in the door. When I interviewed at PIMCO, I could tell they were impressed. No one else had my hands-on experience, and I was on top of [financial news] and could talk about it fluently.”
That fluency is one of the distinguishing characteristics of the TCM program in the mind of Marcia Clark, program director and lecturer in finance. Investment decisions can’t be made in a vacuum, she explains. Students discuss the news and economy as part of the program. “We want our graduates to be able to participate in those discussions,” she says. “We’re building their confidence to engage with investment practitioners and make their mark as the next generation takes over as decision makers in all aspects of the economy.”
Van Harte, who backed the event, was very pleased with the outcome and looks forward to investing in the continued success of the program.
“I am heartened to hear from our TCM alumni that our program is making a difference in their careers and lives, and that they are willing to come back to an alumni event like this and share their experiences with our new TCM students. It was a great day filled with a lot of fun, laughter and personal reconnection.”