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Fordham University

How Fordham University students won a competition with the help of Preqin data

Date: 2020

Firm Type: Academic Institution
Asset Class:
Use Case:
Academic Research, Portfolio Building, ESG Analysis
Professors and students

As the data was not available through Google, Bloomberg Terminal, or Morningstar, we needed a professional database like Preqin. Your data was very helpful for us to construct our portfolio and the most comprehensive.

The Context: First place for Fordham University in the Total Impact Portfolio Challenge with the help of Preqin data

The Total Impact Portfolio Challenge (produced by the Wharton Social Impact Initiative and Total Impact) is an annual competition to equip students with the knowledge, skills, and experience to design and execute investment portfolios that maximize impact across asset classes. A team of students from Fordham University's Gabelli School of Business took part in the competition to build a diversified portfolio, using Preqin’s industry-leading data to curate the alternatives allocation. Meiyan Liu, Amanda Levine, and Yifei Zhang were Fordham University’s representatives in the challenge.

The Challenge: Balancing returns and positive impact

Tasked with meeting client impact and financial goals, the team were required to identify investment opportunities for a college endowment fund. This portfolio needed to be built for the long term, with a perpetual time horizon, and offer both good return prospects and reputable ESG commitments. The team was also given information on current asset size, return objectives, the spending policy, and general background on the endowment to assist in portfolio construction.

Fordham University’s students were competing against 48 teams from 27 schools, aiming to create the most attractive portfolio meeting the set criteria.
The ESG indicators really helped us in planning how we would talk about measurement, especially for the alternative funds, because I think its unique to be able to explain how you can measure impact.

The Solution: A data-led selection process

The first stage of the competition involved writing an investment policy statement. Once this had been submitted, the team were required to put together a full portfolio, hitting certain criteria, along with certain financials and metrics incorporating ESG goals for impact. To construct a compliant and accurate portfolio, the team needed access to key information on alternative investment prospects, and that’s when they turned to Preqin.

Using Preqin Pro’s advanced search function, the team searched funds by their criteria, their strategies, and their performance. This enabled the students to narrow down opportunities based on annualized returns, IRR, management fees, performance fees, and maximum drawdowns.

Equipped with this information, the team were able to build a highly focused portfolio of 10 private funds. This evaluation process was conducted using Preqin’s league tables, so the team could get a sense for who the top performers were at the time. They also analyzed Preqin’s historic performance data from fund inception, then filtered by the key metrics so they could focus on the funds matching their criteria.
Having these materials was really valuable to us. Going into the real world, we can say, I designed a portfolio, I used these tools, and I’m able to do this going forward because I have this experience.

The Result: Winning, experience, and perspective

After presenting their portfolio, it was announced the team from Fordham University took first place in the Total Impact Portfolio Challenge. With a highly data-led strategy, they were able to effectively compile a portfolio of opportunities that was financially lucrative with a positive impact.

Fordham’s portfolio successfully fulfilled the criteria, giving the students great experience and exposure to the world of alternatives. By winning this prestigious challenge with the support of Preqin data, Meiyan, Amanda, and Yifei developed key practical skills they'll be able to carry over when transitioning into their professional careers.
This was an opportunity for us to deeply explore this area, and gain experience in what we are learning about, to contribute to this industry in the future.

Why Fordham University chose Preqin

  • Access to real-world data for professors to supplement their curriculum.
  • Preqin Pro's interactive tools and analytics equips students and encourages practical analysis across relevant alternative asset classes.
  • Preqin's ESG insights and analysis supports students by raising awareness around impact investing.

About Fordham University's Gabelli School of Business

The mission of The Gabelli School of Business is to inspire and empower positive global change, developing students into compassionate business leaders and supporting faculty and students in the ongoing generation of new knowledge.

With The Gabelli School’s MBA program ranked #50 by Poets&Quants, Fordham is one of the top places to study business in the United States and worldwide.
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