Originally from Tualatin, Oregon, Nishan Senthirajah is a junior majoring in finance with a minor in economics at the University of Oregon. He is in the Honors Business program and is also the consumer goods sector leader analyst for the University of Oregon’s Investment Group (UOIG). He was the president of the Financial Management Association (FMA) this past year and will be interning as an investment KeyBanc Capital Market analyst this summer. Here is what he has to say about his experiences in the Lundquist College of Business thus far:
Can you tell me a little bit more about UO’s Investment Group? (UOIG)
NS: I’m a senior analyst within the University of Oregon’s Investment Group, which is a student-led organization within the Lundquist College of Business that actively manages more than one million dollars in endowment funds. It’s comprised of student analysts as well as six students on the management team. Essentially, our job is to put together an equity research report every term on a stock that we believe would be a good investment. So, we generate investment models and do a lot of research to determine how the stock is valued. After the report, you do a presentation to the entire group with about a 45-minute Q&A session. It’s an intense atmosphere. This is my second year in the group so I have one more year after this. It’s been an excellent experience for me thus far. It gives students an opportunity to expand their learning in an environment that they wouldn’t find in the classroom, which is why it’s such a reputable group within the Lundquist College. We try to keep our strong name as we continue in our operations. You also meet a lot of people and a lot of great friends that are invested in the same things and have the same interests as you. People who actually care about the things you’re working on as much as you do. That’s been one of the best parts.
What was your role within the Financial Management Association (FMA) and how is it different than UOIG?
NS: I was the past president at the FMA, which was started two years ago. We’re a chapter of a larger national organization, similar to a lot of other clubs you find in the business school. It’s designed for the broader range of students. The FMA is a much broader-based finance group that covers topics ranging from corporate to investment banking to private equity. The goal for FMA is to provide students with a learning environment to get exposed to different areas of finance in order to determine if it’s something they’re interested in, and if so, what area and how can we help students get there. We do this by going on site visits locally and within the Pacific Northwest. We bring in different speakers from all different backgrounds to come and share their career paths, what they do with their job, skill sets in their current positions, and ways to navigate yourself into that position. It’s been a pretty decent success; it grows every year. Unlike UOIG, the application process isn’t as intense and selective.
What does the future hold in store for you?
NS: This coming summer I’ll be working as an investment KeyBanc Capital Market analyst. My goal is to work there for a couple years because it will provide excellent exposure as far as potential career opportunities going forward. Whether I want to move into private equity or take the industry route, I’m hoping to gain the necessary skill sets and experience while working with investment banking. It’s a work-hard atmosphere, so when you make a lot of great connections you gain extremely valuable experience. I haven’t decided exactly what I want to do – whether I want to stay in investment banking or private equity, or maybe a corporate finance field, but that’s what I’m looking at right now. Ideally, I would like to find myself working on the financial managerial division of a professional sports team or basketball team. After getting my experience in the financial executive department, the decisions I make post-grad will be either going back and getting my MBA or continuing within the field. Within UOIG you see a lot of people doing a couple years of investment banking but then they usually take a lot of different paths.
How do you like to spend your free time?
NS: I’m a basketball fanatic. I’m super into analyzing and catching as many games as I can, especially right now with all the games that are going on. I also play basketball and soccer. I love to travel when I get the chance to. I was able to do a lot of traveling growing up while visiting my parents’ family, so seeing as many places as possible has always been a huge interest of mine. I love Indian cuisine and I like playing blackjack too.
What are some tips you have for other finance students?
NS: Don’t use the mouse when you’re using Microsoft Office; always use the keyboard. I would also say networking is critical within the industry because it’s so concentrated. Because we’re from the west coast, making relationships and being able to network is critical for landing the ideal internship or post-grad job. I would say take advantage of the opportunities that are offered at UO outside of the classroom because not many other schools have them, and that’s what’s going to separate you when you’re going up against your peers or students from other schools. It’s a lot of work but it’s worth it when it’s all said and done.