A dozen years after envisioning the Parker Center for Investment Research at the Johnson School, Charles Lee and Bhaskaran Swaminathan remain passionate about the concept and proud of its results. Although both have moved on to other endeavors—Lee first as managing director and global head of equity research at BGI and now professor of accounting at Stanford, and Swaminathan as partner and research director at LSV—their interest in the Parker Center remains strong.
This year, they generously established the Charles Lee and Bhaskaran Swaminathan Parker Center co-Founder Fellowship—which will support internships for students to help run the center and the Cayuga Fund during the summer. Their intention is for students to gain valuable experience and for the professional staff to get needed help.
Swaminathan remembers that he and Charles Lee cooked up the broad concepts for the center over lunch at a Chinese restaurant on State Street. Lee remembers the two of them hammering out a proposal in one weekend. Acting Dean Tom Dyckman enthusiastically endorsed it, gave them seed money, and circulated the proposal to prospective funders. Soon after, Jeff Parker came forward with the lead gift and additional ideas. The year was 1997. By September 1998, the Parker Center was up and running, with a dazzling array of donated hardware and software. The Cayuga MBA Fund became a legal entity. "This was entrepreneurship in action," says Swaminathan.
Today, the two former Johnson School faculty members still talk warmly of their friendship, their collaboration, and the significance and uniqueness of the center they established. "Something unique happens between students and faculty as we discover new things together," says Lee. The integration of cutting-edge financial research, innovative teaching, real-time data feeds, and management of real money in a hedge fund gives students a dynamic learning experience unlike any other. Today more than 250 graduates in positions throughout the financial industry are proof of the center's value.
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new things together." —Charles Lee