MSM-Finance Capstone Projects at KeyBank

Capstone Project at KeyBank Pays Dividends

New Investment Options for KeyBank

Our project for Professor [Scott] Fine involved researching Dunkin’ Brands, the parent company for Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin-Robbins, which was preparing to do an initial public offering.

To begin the project, we read a bunch of equity research reports. During the second week of the project, the entire class went downtown to Key Tower for a series of meetings with members of KeyBank’s equity research team. We were then let loose on our own to conduct research, meeting occasionally with Professor Fine, Professor [Bonnie] Richley, and a KeyBank equity research coach who was assigned to our particular group. At the end of the project, all groups completed and turned in their own reports with their own independent valuations.

Professor [Peter] Ritchken’s capstone was different. All of the different groups had their own projects for professional clients. Our group developed a series of structured CDs for KeyBank Capital Markets that yielded higher interest rates depending on the performance of an underlying asset like a stock index, a currency index, futures, etc. We also created a break-even pricing model in Excel using Visual Basic. At the end of this project, we did not turn in a final report, but rather presented our products and our model to the clients. All of the groups presented their different projects to one another in class as well.

The biggest thing that I took away from this summer was a better idea of how to function in a group. While I have worked in groups before, I have never participated on something as comprehensive and intense as these two projects. I also learned a great deal about conducting equity research, which will be helpful later in this semester when I have to conduct a similar analysis for my Mergers and Acquisitions course.

— Cliff Gisemba, MSM-Finance '11

Credit Risk Assessment Project

Ming Lin and her team were among the first Weatherhead students to complete a capstone project to round out their MSM-Finance coursework. This new feature of the program allows students to apply their newly acquired knowledge and skills in the field, gaining real-world work experience and making career connections.

“Our credit risk assessment project with KeyBank is one of the most valuable projects I have ever done,” says Lin. “Mentored by our professor, Peter Ritchken, PhD, and inspired by the Black-Scholes-Merton (BSM) Model we learned from our Risk Management and Derivatives class, my team and I applied the BSM model and several other models to assess the credit risks and risk-neutral default probabilities of private loans.”

Lin’s team greatly valued the practical experience the project involved.

The project was a great opportunity to further develop advanced Excel modeling skills, analytical ability and presentation skills. Even better, I got to to communicate with banking industry professionals, observe their daily job, and deliver valuable work that the management team at KeyBank really appreciated. The capstone project was absolutely a hands-on experience in the real world of business.

— Ming Lin, MSM-Finance '10