Crunching the Numbers at the Cutler Center
Twenty years. That’s how long Babson College’s Stephen D. Cutler Center for Investments and Finance has been in the business of educating students about the world of finance.
To mark the occasion, here’s a by-the-numbers look at some of the center’s people, programs, and milestones.
The story of the Cutler Center owes a lot to two people: Stephen D. Cutler MBA’61 and his wife, Alice. The center was founded with a generous gift from the couple, and, thanks to their continued commitment, it is able to focus on its mission of advancing financial education and improving the skill set and marketability of Babson students.
A trustee emeritus at Babson, Cutler is the president and senior portfolio manager at Essex Investment, where he has worked since 1989.
The Cutler Center has three key areas of focus. First, the center promotes thought leadership by hosting or sponsoring a wide variety of conferences and events. Second, the center provides experiential learning programs that offer students hands-on opportunities to build valuable skills, lead outside the classroom, and work toward professional designations such as becoming a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA).
And third, the center’s state-of-the-art finance lab, which sits in the heart of campus at Babson Commons, provides 42 work stations equipped with a wide array of analytical tools used by industry professionals.
Eight student assistants staff the finance lab, helping faculty and students to utilize its analytical tools.
For the past 10 years, the Cutler Center has sponsored the annual Babson Trading Competition. Held during the fall semester, the event invites students from Babson, Olin, and Wellesley colleges to compete against one another using the Rotman Interactive Trader software.
Babson students take part in other finance competitions as well. The Cutler Center sponsors students who participate in the CFA Institute Research Challenge, which involves analyzing a local company and then writing a comprehensive research report.
For the last 13 years, Babson teams also have competed in the annual Rotman International Trading Competition, where students from over 50 universities worldwide participate in a three-day simulated market challenge in Toronto. Babson students have an impressive track record in the competition. This year, the team placed fourth. They won it in 2009.
To help prepare students for a career in finance, the Cutler Center provides access to 15 informational resources in the finance lab. Available programs include Bloomberg, FactSet, S&P Capital IQ, Rotman Interactive Trader, and ARGUS Commercial Real Estate.
The Cutler Center reflects how vital the study of finance is to life at Babson. Consisting of 20 faculty members, the College’s Finance Division offers intellectually rigorous courses in finance and real estate at the undergraduate and graduate levels, as well as custom executive education programs. Finance is the largest undergraduate concentration at Babson College.
The Cutler Center Advisory Board consists of 24 members from various areas of the finance industry. Board members advise the center’s managing director on general principles that guide the center’s growth, and they serve as ambassadors for the center and Finance Division. The board is currently chaired by Mellon’s John Bailer ’92.
A group of 82 students participated in the Cutler Center’s Stock Picking Competition this spring. The group went head to head in the virtual challenge, investing fictitious money based on the real-time market. The competition proved timely: After the Dow Jones and S&P 500 reached soaring highs in February, the coronavirus outbreak upended the market, sending many stocks plummeting.
The Cutler Center hosts various events on the Wellesley campus and at Babson’s Boston location that bring together leading figures in finance to share their experiences and expertise. Over the past 20 years, more than 100 distinguished guest speakers have taken part, including:
- Michael Angelakis ’86, chairman and CEO, Atairos Group
- Jay Clayton, chairman, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission
- Peter Lynch H’96, investor, mutual fund manager, and philanthropist
- Mitt Romney, co-founder of Bain Capital and former governor of Massachusetts
- Joel Tillinghast, portfolio manager, Fidelity Investments
The Cutler Center sponsors the Seminar Speaker Series, which allows faculty to build relationships in the academic community and exchange ideas with other top scholars. Through the years, the series has welcomed 108 professors to campus to discuss papers and research.
Viewers in the Finance Fridays: The Financial Impact of COVID-19 series. Launched in response to the coronavirus pandemic, the weekly webinar series focused on the financial impact of COVID-19. Each week, faculty and alumni thought leaders discussed and answered questions from attendees on topics ranging from mitigating risk, to hedge funds, real estate, and more.
Finally, one of the most in-demand programs at the Cutler Center is the Babson College Fund, which allows a select group of undergraduate and graduate students to manage a portion of Babson’s endowment.
The fund’s student managers are overseen by the faculty director and 13 executives-in-residence, who are industry professionals. The executives have an average of 29 years of experience as analysts and portfolio managers.
The portfolio, which began in 2000, now sits at over $3 million.
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