You can’t build an effective investment strategy without first knowing your client…
Meet Nichole Jordan!
CASE STUDY: You are an analyst team of recent college graduates, working at an up-and-coming asset management company, Wharton Global Asset Management (WGAM). The firm currently manages a $100,000,000 portfolio that is invested across several different sectors, representing a broad range of industries and companies. The members of your team hope to one day become portfolio managers who make the final investment decisions for WGAM’s portfolio.
WGAM’s current portfolio manager (your team’s teacher/advisor) recently met with a potential client, Nichole Jordan, who lives in San Francisco. Nichole is the Senior Vice President, Global Partner Success at Via, a TransitTech company that provides the digital infrastructure for public mobility systems, optimizing networks of shuttles, buses, wheelchair-accessible vehicles, school buses, and autonomous vehicles to meet the needs of large cities and smaller communities around the world.
On March 8, 2021, Via acquired Remix Software, Nichole’s previous company, in a $100-million cash and equity deal. At Remix, she was the Chief Operating Officer. She was responsible for managing global sales, customer success, finance, and people operations, as well as maintaining executive account relationships and ensuring customer satisfaction.
Nichole has a B.S. in Civil Engineering from U.C. Davis and an MBA from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. She was the first African-American female to matriculate in the Wharton West Executive MBA program.
“The Wharton Executive MBA program was invaluable to my career journey and equally beneficial for my personal and professional lives. My classmates were phenomenal and the professors were the best of the best. It challenged me in ways that I didn’t expect and I developed friendships that have lasted for more than 15 years.”
Nichole enjoys spending her free time with her family, traveling, wine tasting, and reading. She is a dedicated Peloton member and also loves doing yoga.
Nichole is an active volunteer, a leader for several non-profit entities, and is passionate about mentoring women of color. She is currently the International Technology Chairman for Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, the first sorority founded by African-American women. She has also served as an executive mentor for Sequoia Capital’s Ascent Mentoring program, designed to support emerging women leaders in tech.
“What drives me is opening doors or creating opportunities for others like me. I had to figure a lot out in life on my own, but I also had strong mentors along the way that helped me become who I am. I want to serve as that person for others.”
Starting in 2022, Nichole would like to provide a small scholarship of $5,000 per year to a woman of color studying engineering at her alma mater, U.C. Davis. Nichole needs your help determining how best to fund this, as she wants to be able to offer the scholarship for at least 10 years. Should she keep $50,000 in cash? Should she invest in stocks that pay dividends? Another option? Nichole wants to hear your plan for funding the scholarship. (Please see the Placing Trades and Rules pages for more information about how to invest in stocks and bonds.)
Nichole also loves being an aunt to her six young nieces and nephews. She wants to ensure that she can help build generational wealth for them and contribute to their educational expenses, including college tuition. She specifically mentioned to your portfolio manager, “I feel very strongly about having them as part of my long-term financial plan.”
Nichole has $100,000 she wants WGAM to manage in order to achieve these two financial goals. She has set aside additional money for her other financial goals, including retirement, so WGAM does not need to focus on Nichole’s other financial goals.
Nichole told the portfolio manager that WGAM has 10 weeks to put together a detailed portfolio analysis proposal. Your portfolio manager recognizes that it will not be easy to land Nichole as a client. To make the most convincing case to Nichole, everyone on the team must contribute to ensure that WGAM creates the best proposal.
Over the next 10 weeks, your team will develop and test an investment strategy to meet Nichole’s two financial goals. Your team will conduct a thorough analysis of industries and companies, with the goal of ensuring both long-term and a small amount of mid-term profitability for your prospective client. You will test your investment strategy using the Wharton Investment Simulator (WInS). And remember, WInS can only accurately assess the performance of investments that are made for the short-term. So, while you should test your strategy and build your stock portfolio on WInS, the majority of your investments should be long-term and therefore won’t require excessive buying and selling of stocks. However, your strategy might include guidelines for certain factors that could influence your decision to sell, even in the short-term. On WInS, you will be getting some portfolio-management experience.
Your team will start out with a portfolio of $100,000 in virtual cash and will compete against other student teams from all over the world. At the end of the 10 weeks of active trading, you will be required to submit a proposal detailing your recommended investment strategy. Judges will review your final investment report and select top teams. Those teams will be invited to present their strategies to a panel of experts.
* Teams are not permitted to contact Nichole Jordan, members of her family, Via, or anyone else mentioned in this case study. The investment scenarios included in this case study have been embellished for the purpose of the competition.