Last week saw hedge fund billionaire Bill Ackman, the CEO of $12 billion Pershing Square Capital Management, announce a chancellorship program that will enable recent grads an opportunity to earn an MBA from the University of Oxford.
However, Ackman doesn’t want these scholars to ply their trade in hedge funds or on the Street. Rather, Ackman’s Oxford Pershing Square Graduate Scholars Program, which he has begun with a gift of $6.6 million to endow the scholarships, looks to the betterment of the world through social entrepreneurship.
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Ackman hopes that these scholarships will go to individuals who will “address world-scale challenges for the benefit of society.”
Five students will be given a full ride to Oxford’s 1 + 1 program, which allows students to do the one-year Oxford MBA paired with one of many of the university’s other master’s programs.
“It takes both domain expertise and management skills to solve problems. Simply having a broad set of skills without knowing the facts about the problem it’s really hard to, for example, address issues of water policy, address environmental issues, fix education. All of these things require that you know something about the underlying phenomenon. So what we’ve created with our 1+1 program is an ability to first get depth and then get breadth of management skills,” said Oxford’s Saïd Business School Dean Peter Tufano.
Ackman has high hopes for this graduate level work
While Ackman has high hopes for this graduate level work, he also believes that high school students need to have an investment class, and he shared this with Business Insider.
Ackman thinks its imperative that students are given some knowledge of finance so problems of the past aren’t repeated.
“You know it’s interesting. I’ve actually always thought that high school education should include a program on everything on how to get a mortgage, how to manage your personal finances, credit cards, student loans. When you think about the subprime crisis, a lot of that was caused by people who were fairly unsophisticated about finance in many cases not understanding the ramifications of what an adjustable mortgage is and what Libor is and all the factors are…” he explained.
While it’s doubtful that Ackman himself will take up teaching anytime soon, his ideas should certainly not be dismissed.