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USC Marshall Greatness Shared: Sheldon Stone, Principal and Portfolio Manager at Oaktree Capital LLC.  

Sheldon Stone

The USC Marshall School of Business takes great pride in its educational environment that encourages experiential learning opportunities and participation by industry professionals.

Sheldon Stone, a founding member and principal of Oaktree Capital Management LLC, is one such professional Marshall students enjoy access to.  Oaktree currently has more than $122 billion assets under management (AUM). Stone has managed the firm’s US and global high-yield bond portfolios for three decades, and for the last five years, he has been teaching a course he created for MBA students at Marshall.

Stone’s involvement at USC started in early 2000. He was persuaded to join the board of the Center for Investment Studies (CIS) after a few conversations with then-dean Randolph Westerfield and Chair of the Center for Investment Studies Board Larry Tashjian.

The CIS is a USC Marshall pathway to the investment community. CIS board members are all well-known professionals and serve as active advisors for the Student Investment Fund program (SIF), and host many of the program activities, including company site visits, guest lectures and providing professional guidance and input on CIS activities.

“Sheldon has brought a passion, desire to educate and enthusiasm to give back to our industry that is unique and different,” said Tashjian, President and CEO of CAM Capital Advisors.  “His insights and experience in managing high-yield debt brought an expanded focus to our Center, and Sheldon has expanded that focus into his teaching responsibilities over the last five years.  He has been a pleasure to work with and all of us thank him for his willingness to share his time, expertise and network connections to continue to enhance the Center’s strategic goals.”   

The Professional Viewpoint

After spending some time on campus, Stone noticed there was an opportunity to add instruction in the field of credit research.  He saw many offerings in equity investing but not much in fixed income beyond yield math. He felt strongly that MBA students could benefit from fundamental credit research knowledge. 

“Not everyone is buying equities,” he said. And learning the business from a lender’s side offered a perspective Marshall students would benefit from.

Motivated to offer a class he hadn’t seen before, Stone created the High-Yield Bond Investing-Managing Credit Risk course in 2015. 

“I wanted to be the professor I never had,” he said. “Someone who’s a practical instructor, offering a small seminar-style learning experience where questions are encouraged.”  

CIS Director and Professor of Clinical Finance and Business Economics Suh-Pyng Ku has enjoyed her professional and academic collaboration with Stone.

“It seems like yesterday since we first discussed the idea of offering a specialized high yield debt investing class at Marshall,” said Ku, who is also vice dean for graduate programs at USC Marshall.  “But this fall will be Professor Stone’s fifth year of teaching FBE550.  We are so grateful to Sheldon for creating and teaching an engaging, experiential class for USC Marshall MBA students that will profoundly expand their finance experience.”

MBA students must apply and be selected for this intimate and interactive class.  Throughout the eight-week course, 12 students review the structure of the high-yield bond market and work to develop a practical approach to assessing credit risk while understanding how deals are structured and priced. An emphasis is placed on developing analytic skills for corporate credit research and assessing how the market measures and prices credit risk. 

Kevin Murphy, professor of finance and business economics, and Chair of Marshall’s Finance and Business Economics (FBE) Dept., explained the significance of Stone’s elective course.

“Courses like the High Yield Bond – Managing Credit Risk class are very important to Marshall because they allow second-year MBA students the opportunity to develop strong competencies in specialized areas of finance that align with their career goals.”

Stone’s goal for his students is that they learn how lenders view the world, how credit markets work, and what borrowers care about. 

“In some ways, it’s the antithesis of how equity investors think,” he said. “Equity investors are looking for companies that deliver steady earnings growth, while lenders desire a margin for error and certainty that they will get their money back.”

Alumni of his class suggest that he's been successful in this regard.

“As students of investing, we were constantly in awe of Professor Stone’s ability to break down and explain complex subject matters,” says Jon Friedman MBA ’17, now a credit research analyst at Janus Henderson Investors U.S.  “We always enjoyed hearing Professor Stone’s stories and lessons learned and how he continues to be passionate about the market, even with his longstanding success.”

Harry Pham MBA ’20 agreed. “Professor Stone’s class has really widened my knowledge and brought many perspectives to me. I am forever grateful for these experiences.”

And USC Marshall is grateful to have the dedication and support from such an accomplished industry professional as Sheldon Stone.

ANNOUNCEMENT:  SIF and USIF Classes of 2021

SIF Class of 2021

We are pleased to announce the Class of 2021 Student Investment Fund (SIF) managers (i.e., members of the 2020-21 FBE553a/b yearlong Applied Portfolio Management courses). 

Trojan Equity Fund (TEF)

Provident Growth Fund (PGF)

Babcock California Fund (BCF)

Global Equity Fund (GEF)

Marshall Fixed-Income Fund (MFF)

Nicholas Bassi

Aaron Abel

Nathan Dixon

Manya Agarwal

Jeff Denault

Tai Hsu (Michael) Chen

Nicholas Gantchev

Lee Hamburger

Raman Anurag

Jessica Lin

Alex Ouligian

Kelechukwu (Michael) Ibe

Jeff Wang

Peggy Quon

Robert Pinsent

 

 

Yunpeng Zhang

Alberto Tugnoli

 

USIF Class of 2021

We are pleased to announce the Class of 2021 Undergraduate Student Investment Fund (USIF) managers (i.e., members of the 2020-21 FBE453a/b yearlong Advanced Practicum in Investment Management courses).

 Ismael Ahmed

 Shreyansh Jhalani

Sanjay Mattela

Alex Wang

 Gabriel Chen

 Mario Koenigsperger

Daniel Oh

Brian Wehner

 Aaron Huang

 Jonathan Lin

Danny Shin

Nicholas Witham

 Lorraine Xu

 Amit Lingampalli

Noah Traeger

Vivian Zhu

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MBA Career Insights Finance Panel features SIF Alumni: August 2019

The USC Marshall Graduate Career Services held a Career Insights Seminar in the Edison Auditorium, where top finance executives, including several Student Investment Fund (SIF) alumni, came to campus to participate on Finance Career panels, where they shared their industry experiences with incoming full-time MBA students.

Center for Investment Studies (CIS) Director Suh-Pyng Ku moderated the “Executive Perspective” finance panel, which featured Scott Adelson, Co-President & Global Co-Head, Corporate Finance, Houlihan Lokey, Lois Ungar, CFO at SBL Ventures and David Rosenberg (SIF 2004), Co-Portfolio Manager, US & Global High Yield, at Oaktree Capital Management.  The panel spent an hour sharing their career paths, current roles, insights on the finance industry, and fielding questions from students.  

After the executive panel discussion concluded, SIF alumni Akosua Adu-Gyamfi (SIF 2017), Investment Banking associate at Morgan Stanley, Julian Rachlin (SIF 2016), Associate Director at First Quadrant, and John Park (SIF 2018), Manager Corporate Strategy at Amgen took the stage to discuss their careers from a recent graduate’s perspective.  The incoming class enjoyed the lively dialogue and peppered the panel with questions.

When asked for advice about how to obtain a portfolio manager position, Rachlin recommended exploring SIF. “We (panelists) were all members of the SIF program, and I think that was helpful for all of us in learning about finance and connecting with potential employers.”

The USC Marshall MBA program maintains its academic excellence through the support of such outstanding individuals, and we are grateful to these SIF alumni who shared their time and expertise with the Class of 2021.  For more information on the SIF program, please click here.

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New SIF Research Tools: MarketSmith and Sentieo

SIF/USIF 2020 classes recently received trial student licenses from  from Sentieo, a modern financial research platform built for asset management firms and corporate research teams, and MarketSmith, a stock research & investment tool for stock market analysis. We thank Kine Paulsen (USIF 2011) and Jia Dong (Full-time MBA Class of 2013) respectively for connecting us with this great opportunity!

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Van Eck Global Scholars NYC Trek 2019
NYC VanEck 2019

SIF/USIF student investors travelled to New York as part of the VanEck Scholars program.


The visit began with the second annual Investment Showcase and Reception at the VanEck headquarters in Midtown.  The class presented their 2019 Mid-Year Performance Review to financial industry leaders, followed by an engaging Q&A discussion.  Immediately after, the students attended an intimate welcome reception with USC SIF and USIF Alumni.


USIF student Eugenia Huang explains the value of this event. “Spending time with seasoned professionals is what truly makes the Undergraduate Student Investment Fund a world-class learning experience. Learning about and engaging with the wide variety of perspectives present in the room is a unique opportunity that complements the learning that takes place within classroom walls.”

The next day, the class attended meetings with Trojan alumni at the industry leading firms of Susquehanna, PJT, GSO/Blackstone and The Carlyle Group.  

“USIF's New York trip helped us connect with alumni who are investment professionals at prestigious firms, which is tremendously beneficial for those of us interested in investment management,” states USIF student Rui Wray. “We also learned about many of the asset classes that USIF do not invest in, such as private equity and leveraged loans, which broadens our horizons and would help us become more informed investment managers in the future.”  

We appreciate the generosity and support from such outstanding companies and individuals.

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Announcement: Undergraduate Student Investment Fund receives a $3 million gift

USC Marshall Center for Investment Studies is proud to announce a new fund to be added to the Undergraduate Student Investment Fund. The Student Asset Allocation Fund, sponsored by Van Eck Global (SAAF) is made possible by a gift from Van Eck Global, an investment management firm based in New York. Along with the current $1 million US equity portfolio, the students will be managing a new $2 million ETF fund. For more information, read our articles in the Marshall News Room and the Daily Trojan.

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