SPONSORED: Celebrating 25 Years Of Burkenroad Reports

Twenty-five years ago, Professor Peter Ricchiuti founded a unique learning opportunity for Tulane University graduate students that has not only impacted over 700 graduate students, but also opened new doors for small-cap public companies headquartered in six southern states.

Burkenroad Reports began as a program aimed to bring recognition to small companies in Louisiana that were often overlooked, and that idea emerged into an amazing learning experience for students. Burkenroad Reports is an investment research program at Tulane University that provides students the opportunity for real-life financial analysis experience with small-cap public companies headquartered in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas.

“The idea came about when I was Assistant State Treasurer and managing all the state’s money in Baton Rouge, because constituents would call me all the time for information on this small company in Louisiana or that small company, and I couldn’t find anything. I realized that Wall Street doesn’t really pay attention to this side of the world,” stated Ricchiuti. Ricchiuti applied for a grant, and through $45,000 from the 8(g) grant, the project was started and has continued to grow over the last 25 years.

Burkenroad Reports is unique in that it not only helps students, but it is extremely beneficial to the companies studied. It has brought recognition to companies in the southern part of the United States. “It’s interesting that about 45 companies that we follow were, in turn, bought out or merged to another company. Because they are great companies, and people finally start to see them and what they are capable of doing,” said Ricchiuti.

For one semester, students are assigned to follow and write a research report on one of 40 small-cap stocks headquartered in the six southern states. Teams are responsible for modeling out earnings and projections for the company by studying the company’s operations, visiting their headquarters, talking to their management, trade associations, customers, and more. Over the course of the semester, teams build each part of the report, which ultimately serves as final deliverable at the end of the semester: the company’s investment report, their Burkenroad Report.

As the program continued to grow, it became obvious that students who previously participated in the program could continue to benefit by assisting Ricchiuti. He began recruiting students who completed the program to work as Associate Directors, providing another real-life learning opportunity for students.

While working on her MBA, Natalie Person, TPG’s Director of Healthcare Services, participated in the program and then served as an Associate Director. As Associate Director, she was provided the opportunity to teach various topics to the class, grade parts of the report and provide feedback to students. “I had to manage two teams from an organizational perspective, coaching them on how to talk to management and that there’s not a stupid question; that we are trying to get to the value of that company,” said Person.

The Annual Investment Conference, held in New Orleans, is a celebration of the students’ work. The conference features presentations from the companies’ top management, and the students’ reports are available for viewing. The event is free to the public and an excellent educational opportunity for all students.

During the 2018 Annual Investment Conference, Professor Ricchiuti was recognized for his outstanding accomplishments in the program. Burkenroad Reports sets Tulane University’s MBA program apart from other programs. Not only do students learn the hard skills of research and writing, but they learn how to interact and present to top management; another reason why employers seek out these program graduates

The program is small, but a tight knit community of staff and students working together, building career long relationships. “The program really builds a rapport between alums and the school. When an alum is looking to hire, they will usually go back to the school for current graduates,” said Person.

When asked what he is most proud of in the 25-year history of the Burkenroad Reports, Professor Ricchiuti states, “I’m proud that it was created. The pay off is seeing the students do well and having the opportunity to serve as a mentor to them.”

Congratulations on 25 years of a successful program that has benefited hundreds of students and companies and our region.

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