FAQs

BIG FAQs

Time Management

  • What advice do you have for managing Bowden, school work, finding a job, and being in another organization?

    • It’s no secret that being a Bowden member is a lot of work, but the work is worth the rewards, and each member has strategies for managing their time. On a weekly basis, common strategies employed include using a planner or calendar to schedule time for assignments and meetings, using the whole week to do assignments rather than starting the weekend on thursday (or wednesday after class), and minimizing distractions by listening to music, using earplugs, and turning on your phone’s do not disturb feature. On a semester/yearly basis, it is important to understand the fall semester is more time-intensive than the spring semester. In the fall, members juggle completing more in-depth research assignments, finding a job, and finishing a term as a campus leader. In the spring, members find time easier to manage as many have accepted job offers, have less course hours, and feel more comfortable acting as an equity analyst. Incoming members can even the workload from the fall to spring semester by taking fewer classes in the fall than in the spring, seeking an internship early, and performing well in their internship so they have higher chances of an early job offer.

  • How did you balance the summer assignments with an internship or summer job?

    • Figure out the hours for your internship or summer job and consider how you would like to fit in the summer assignments. The summer assignments involve watching videos via Wall Street Prep, taking quizzes, completing practice assignments, and reading a book. The Wall Street Prep website can give you an idea of how much time the videos will take to watch. You can use one day on the weekend to knock the assignments out for the week or split the time between weekdays. The summer assignments are manageable and we encourage you to seek out an internship. However, it is in your best interest to develop a game plan for completing the summer assignments if you have a job or internship.

  • How much time on average do you spend on assignments for
    Bowden in a week?

    • You can expect to spend more time working on assignments for Bowden than most other courses and the hours spent in one week may be much more or less than in another week. After polling the class, the average hours BIG members said they spent on Bowden in a week was 28 and the median was 10.

Recruitment

  • Can you describe the application and interview process?

    • To complete the application, you will use your DegreeWorks to input your grades for a handful of finance courses; you will submit your resume (make sure to visit business career services for resume help); and you will submit responses to short answer questions.

    • If you are selected to interview, you will have three consecutive 20 minute interviews: one with Dr. Hadley and Mr. Poole, two with six BIG members each.

  • What sort of things do you look for in BIG applicants?

    • We are looking for applicants who perform well in their finance classes, are willing to work hard, and have an interest in investing.This can be demonstrated through course grades reported on the application and responses to interview questions.

  • How can I prepare for the application?

    • The application should be fairly easy to complete. You can submit your best resume by tailoring your experience to the student characteristics listed on the Apply tab of the website and seeking help from the Business Career Services.

  • How can I prepare for the interview?

    • For the interview, the best advice we can give is to follow the equity markets and know what is in the portfolio. Some examples of how to do this are listed below.

      • Listen to the news every morning while getting ready for class - be sure to listen to a variety of news channels as many are politically biased

      • Subscribe to a business newsletter (examples include the MorningBrew and Robinhood Snacks)

      • Listen to business/investment podcasts (we like Motley Fool Money, InvestTalk, The Investor’s Podcast, Investing Insights from Morningstar)

      • Follow business instagram and twitter accounts (examples include @bloombergbusiness and @washingtonpost)

      • Add Bowden Stocks to your watchlist and follow the company accounts on social media

  • What is the timeline like for applying, interviewing, and hearing back?

    • Applications will be due in late February to early March and interviews will take place in March. You can expect to hear back by the end of March.

  • Is there any software I should increase my familiarity with in order to be a better candidate?

    • Excel skills will help you in Bowden and in your career. However, we are more concerned with your academic performance and interest in investing during the recruitment process.

  • Which classes would you recommend taking before applying for the BIG?

    • We recommend that you plan to take the corequisites for Bowden before the fall semester of your senior year. The corequisites are FIN 3690 Financial Management and FIN 3890 Survey of Investments. If you cannot fit both courses into your schedule before your senior fall semester, we advise you to take Financial Management first. BIG members who have not completed Survey of Investments prior to the fall semester will have to complete an additional summer assignment.

  • If I were to take Survey of Investments or Financial Management prior to joining Bowden, which would you recommend taking first?

    • It is in the best interest of BIG members to complete both courses prior to the fall semester of their senior year. However, typically BIG members complete Financial Management before Bowden and Survey of Investments in the fall of their senior year if their schedule constrains them.

  • Can non-finance majors apply?

    • Economics and Accounting majors are invited to apply so long as they have a finance minor. There are two required courses that BIG members must take either before Bowden or during the fall semester: Survey of Investments and Financial Management. For a non-finance major, it would take one more course, in addition to these two, to graduate with a finance minor. 

Class/Assignments

  • Is Bowden a class and do you get graded?

    • Yes, Bowden is a class and members receive a grade. Members enroll in Investment Management I and Investment Management II (FIN 4620 and FIN 4622). These classes will typically take the place of two of your major elective sets. 

  • What does a typical class look like?

    • The class agenda is different depending on the semester. See below for a rough outline of the agenda based on the timing of BIG membership.

    • Early Fall

      • Portfolio Discussion

      • Reading Quiz

      • Lecture/ Team Activity

    • Late Fall

      • Portfolio Discussion

      • Accountant Presentation (Mondays)/Economist Presentation (Wednesdays)

      • Industry Report

      • Occasional Guest Speaker

      • Lecture/Assignment Instructions

    • Spring

      • Portfolio Discussion

      • Accountant Presentation (Mondays)/Economist Presentation (Wednesdays)

      • Industry Report

      • Stock Presentation

  • What are the Summer assignments?

    • Summer Reading Book (One Up on Wall Street by Peter Lynch)

    • Follow news on your assigned stock

    • Crash course in accounting on Wall Street Prep

    • Course on financial statement modeling and valuation

    • Practice modeling assignment

Team Work

  • How does working in teams contribute to the BIG experience?

    • BIG members work in teams on most tasks. Working together helps the group build a sense of camaraderie while lightening the workload. Below are some tasks in which BIG members work together.

      • Fall stock analysis, valuation, report, and presentation (2 members)

      • Early spring stock analysis, valuation, report, and presentation (3-4 members)

      • CFA Team analysis, valuation, report, and presentation (4-5 members)

      • Late spring stock pitches (1-2 members)

      • Position work (President and VP, 2 Accountants, 2 Economists, etc.)

Positions

  • What are the responsibilities of each position and how many members assume each role?

    • President (1)

      • Facilitate daily operations

      • Act as contact person for the Faculty Advisor

      • Facilitate class meetings

      • Organize social activities for the group

    • Vice President and Public Relations Manager (1)

      • Maintain and improve the BIG website and social media accounts

      • Recruit students for the next Bowden Investment Group

      • Organize special meetings for prospective members

      • Coordinate interviews for BIG candidates

    • BIG Update Editors (2)

      • Write monthly updates regarding the BIG and the BIF (see the reports tab on the website)

    • Annual Report Editor (1)

      • Write and edit the BIG Annual Report (see the reports tab on the website)

    • Accountants and Portfolio Analysts (2)

      • Deliver weekly presentations regarding the composition of the fund

      • Monitor the portfolio and check for compliance with the guidelines of the group

    • Economic Analysts (2)

      • Deliver weekly reports on the economy and relate economic events/forecasts to the performance of the fund

    • Industry Analysts (3)

      • Deliver presentations on industry sectors or sub sectors that are heavily weighted in the portfolio (fall) and are not heavily weighted in the portfolio (spring)

  • How are members assigned their individual roles (Pres., VP, Acct., etc.)?

    • Rather than assigning roles, members run for the position they would like to have. In the early fall, the group will hold elections and positions will be chosen by a majority vote. If you have your eye on a position where you expect to face competition, begin contributing to the group as that position would BEFORE elections. (example: If you want to run for President, consider starting a group message with newly invited members and facilitate group events. If you want to run for the Economist, pay close attention to trends in the macro-economy and send compelling news to the group).

CFA

  • What is the CFA Challenge? 

    • The Global CFA Institute Research Challenge is an event for university students to test their investment knowledge and compete against other students at various levels. The Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation is highly regarded in the investment world and teams who compete in this challenge have the opportunity to learn from a mentor who holds the designation. In nine of 12 years, Appalachian teams surpassed other North Carolina Universities and advanced to the Americas round. The report and presentation created by this team is critiqued more thoroughly than others, but the opportunity to represent your school (and win) is an honor.

  • How much extra work does being on the CFA team require? 

    • Competing in the CFA Challenge is only more work because of the depth of analysis and the standard to which it is held. Members of the CFA team begin research in the late fall and write a research report to turn in by the beginning of the spring semester. The CFA report replaces the Bowden spring report. After the report is turned in, team members create and deliver a presentation. For each stage of the competition that the team advances, they are rewarded in class with fewer presentations. Ultimately, the workload on paper is the same for those on the CFA team and for those not on the CFA team. However, CFA members will have to put more effort into the CFA report and presentation if they want to advance in the competition.

    • How do you join the CFA team?

      • In the fall semester, Dr. Hadley will invite Bowden members to express their interest in joining the CFA team. Dr. Hadley and Mr. Poole will then choose the team members from the pool of interested members.

    • What are some tips you would give to the next CFA team?

      • Do research assignments 1 and 2 before the fall semester ends - This will help the team get to know the company and save time to write the report over the break.

      • Treat CFA like a full time job over winter break - The research report takes a considerable amount of time to complete well and extra time to be competitive. By meeting from 10-5 Monday through Friday over the break, the team has time to research, digest, and analyze information when writing sections of the report.

      • Save time for feedback - The feedback from Dr. Hadley and Mr. Pavese will push the team to think more critically about their analysis and catch inconsistencies between sections. 

      • Schedule deadlines a week before the official deadline posted on the CFA site - This will allow time for feedback and help prevent scrambling to finish at the end.