Senior Nick Callahan advanced his institutional investing experience through a one-of-a-kind program called Investors With Purpose. Being mentored by leaders in the industry led to an internship at the University of Nebraska Foundation where he gained real-world insight and continued to build a network of professionals in the financial industry.
“My internship at the University of Nebraska Foundation allowed me to meet many managers of funds ranging from private equity, private credit, private real estate, international equities and fixed income. It also helped me build an understanding of the institutional investment process and gave me the knowledge of best practices when building and maintaining relationships,” said Callahan, a finance, accounting and economics major from Shawnee, Kansas.
Selected students in the Investors with Purpose course (FINA 464) receive a fully-paid internship at either the University of Nebraska Foundation (NUF) or the Nebraska Investment Council. Callahan became the first to intern at NUF.
“Through my internship, I was able to meet with a variety of fund managers and expand my knowledge of institutional investments through various webinars and readings. I gained valuable skills and relevant real-world experiences that I will carry with me for the rest of my career,” he said.
Callahan worked closely with Brian Neale, chief investment officer at NUF, and worked on projects like aggregating investment-related data.
“Brian was very knowledgeable in the field of institutional investments and was quick to answering questions when they came up. He has a deep skillset, which allowed me to further build on my knowledge of investments,” Callahan said.
Neale also provided Callahan with experience reporting and discussing the investment data to the NUF investment committee.
“We tried to expose Nick to a wide variety of projects and functions, some of which had significant levels of responsibilities associated with them. We want to expose our interns to real-world experiences within the investment industry and often invite our interns to participate in meetings with investment firms, many of whom are potential future employers,” Neale said.
Another focus of the internship centered on networking. With many opportunities to connect and meet others in the industry, Callahan continue to grow his network.
“The investment industry is at its heart a relationship-based profession, and introducing our interns to senior investment professionals can help provide a boost to their networks and the development of career opportunities,” Neale said.
Callahan also benefitted from accessibility to a wide variety of experts in the finance industry in Investors With Purpose where many guest speakers shared their insight and then stayed for dinner after class to continue to mentor the students.
“Prior to the Investors With Purpose program, I never had access to many advanced finance professionals as a student. I gained extensive knowledge in professional skills from these leaders that are not taught in other classes,” he said.
Neale credited the success of the Investors With Purpose program, which started in 2020, to the many partners involved. Doug Waggoner, ’75 & ’77, who worked for Ford Motor Company, Rockwell International and several asset management firms, including 25 years as a senior leader and managing director at BlackRock, originally pitched the idea for the program at the College of Business.
“Launching the internship aspect of the program during the pandemic proved to be challenging, but our success has provided momentum for continued growth. We are fortunate to have this program and the support of leaders like Doug, and Nick was an excellent representation of the caliber of students attending Nebraska. Doug and the College of Business created a unique opportunity that will continue the tradition of educating future business leaders,” Neale said.
For any students interested in finance or investing, the internship comes at the top of Callahan’s recommendations. Everything he learned during his time at the foundation, as well as the course, provided him with ample skills to find success in his current internship and future with investing.
“I’ve used the financial and soft skills I gained through the Investors With Purpose program in the work I am doing today as an intern with Bridgepoint Investment Banking by working with individuals of a similar status. I will be working in investment banking next year, and the NU Foundation internship gave me the knowledge to succeed in the industry,” said Callahan.
To learn more about the Investors With Purpose program, read the featured article in the 2021 Nebraska Business magazine.