Committee Impressed by Students’ Work on Cougar Fund
Wayne Q. Nguyen was born in Vietnam. Today he is getting his MS in Finance at the University of Houston C. T. Bauer College of Business while working two jobs, as a financial analyst in the healthcare industry and a peer advisor for the college’s Rockwell Career Center.
Davison Nutt grew up in Marlin, Texas, roping cattle and driving tractors. After a stint in the mortgage industry, he now works in commercial real estate sales while studying for his MBA in Finance at Bauer.
Nguyen and Davison also serve on the Cougar Fund, the college’s student-managed private investment fund, where their passion and energy for investing has been recognized by the CFA Society of Houston. They are the recipients of the society’s 2012 scholarships — $2,500 each that will go toward tuition.
The CFA Society of Houston was impressed by Nguyen’s “breadth of experience in several different industries” and Nutt’s “enthusiasm and passion for investing,” said Chris McMeans (’06), who co-chairs the scholarship committee and also worked on the Cougar Fund while earning his MBA at Bauer.
“These are among Bauer’s best students,” said Bauer Professor of Finance Tom George, who teaches the securities-analysis course that manages the Cougar Fund. “It’s an honor for us to have the CFA Society of Houston recognize our investment management program with support for our students, their future members.”
The CFA Program is a graduate-level curriculum that culminates in the gold-standard Chartered Financial Analyst designation. Through its scholarships, the Houston society encourages excellence in the development of future finance professionals, practitioners, and academicians it expects to earn the CFA charter eventually.
“I’m very grateful for the scholarship,” says Nguyen, a financial analyst at Memorial Hermann Healthcare System. He said the scholarship is an “ego boost” that gives him the confidence and encouragement to stick with his goal of achieving the Chartered Financial Analyst designation. In his part-time job as a peer counselor at Bauer’s Rockwell Career Center, Nguyen helps students with their résumés and interview skills.
McMeans, an equity analyst at Invesco Ltd., said the committee was impressed by Nguyen’s work ethic. “Wayne really stood out as someone who is a scrapper,” he said. “He is really hungry for the business.”
Nutt, who is assistant vice president of sales at Moody National Companies, said he is “humbled” by the scholarship. “The CFA designation is an important goal of mine as I continue to pursue my vocational call of serving in the field of finance,” Nutt wrote in an email.
Having the CFA Society’s seal of approval, he said in an interview, is every bit as meaningful as the cash gift. “Knowing that I’m designated with that for the rest of my life, that I can put that on my résumé and always attach that to myself, is just as important as the money.”
McMeans said his committee was impressed by Nutt’s level of involvement with the Cougar Fund. “He was very knowledgeable about talking to us about the stocks that he’s worked on and being able to walk us through the ideas and answer questions about that.”
As a Cougar Fund participant himself, McMeans said the experience was invaluable and spurred his interest in leading the scholarship panel.
“The appeal of going to the University of Houston for my MBA was the Cougar Investment Fund, as well as the expertise of the Department of Finance,” he said. “What’s unique about the Cougar Fund is that it’s one of the few graduate-run portfolios in the country that uses actual investor money as opposed to just merely the school’s endowment money.”
McMeans estimates the CFA Society of Houston has awarded more than $100,000 in scholarships to UH students over the past 30 years.
By Wendell Brock