At his internship at investment firm in New York City, University of Wisconsin Oshkosh accounting major Jonathan Dudzinski was given a defining task – help a senior analyst condense a large amount of information and develop a challenging and complex mathematical model.
Dudzinski’s internship at Tocqueville Asset Management LP gave him real-world, hands-on experience. His completed task was described by a portfolio manager as “asking a first year medical student to perform brain surgery.”
Dudzinski took up the challenge and the result was a model that was used unaltered in a presentation to the CEO and portfolio managers. This example of hard work is one of many that helped Dudzinski win the 2012 Cooperative Education and Internship Association (CEIA) Academic Internship Student Achievement Award.
Vice President of the Internship Network Lisa Garza said the judges saw Dudzinski as a stand out; he even received a perfect score from one judge.
“All of the judges rated Jonathan particularly high on his student statement, especially with regard to his description of what he learned at his internship and how the position impacted his future plans,” Garza said. “One judge commented, ‘I think he embodies what CEIA is all about!’”
CEIA is a nonprofit organization and provides professional development in the area of cooperative education through many activities, including annual national conferences, support for on-going research and training.
To be considered for the Academic Internship Student Achievement Award and receive recognition from the premier internship association in the country, students must go through an extensive application process.
Jessie Pondell, professional development director for the UW Oshkosh College of Business and CEIA member, nominated Dudzinski for this award. The application requires a written two-page statement from the student, a University sponsor and an internship site sponsor.
For Garza, Dudzinski stood out as a top candidate because he was a leader in his internship and mentored and taught other interns, going beyond the expectations of his internship managers.
Gordon Forsyth, a Tocqueville security analyst and internship supervisor, said Dudzinksi had a stronger academic background than his peers and went out of his way to teach them the basics of finance, in addition to the other tasks he took on.
“He spent hours unselfishly walking the other interns through financial statements and various modeling techniques, instilling a sense of camaraderie throughout the group,” Forsyth said. “In addition, Jonathan took the reins in organizing the Tocqueville table for the JP Morgan charity 5k run in Central Park.”
Forsyth said the combination of Dudzinski’s academic knowledge and attitude toward finance made him an important part of the organization.
“Jonathan’s genuine enthusiasm for investing enabled him to add value to Tocqueville, not just from an asset valuation perspective, but also as a mentor to his fellow interns,” Forsyth said.
For Dudzinski, being chosen as the recipient of the award from an applicant pool that included Ivy League nominations, demonstrates the quality of education at UW Oshkosh.
“It is commonly believed that a world-class education comes with the tradeoff of a nearly insurmountable tuition bill,” Dudzinski said. “Oshkosh proves this theory wrong.”
President, CEO and CIO of Tocqueville, Robert Kleinschmidt (BBA ’71), an alumnus of the UW Oshkosh College of Business, said his experience with Dudzinski and other UW Oshkosh interns has been positive.
“I am proud to say that our experience with UW Oshkosh interns has confirmed my expectations,” Kleinschmidt said. “Not only have they stacked up well against our other interns from around the country and around the globe, in most cases they have excelled. This was particularly true with Jonathan. He hit the ground running and never stopped.”
Pondell said Dudzinski went above and beyond the requirements of his education to reach his professional goals.
“So many times, students think that hitting benchmarks and taking required courses will lead to professional success,” Pondell said in her recommendation letter for Dudzinski. “It is refreshing to work with students who see the bar that has been set and instead of working toward that bar, bound right over it in pursuit of greatness.”
After he graduates in May, Dudzinski has no plans to take it easy. He plans to complete the second level of the Chartered Financial Analyst Program and become a CPA. Dudzinski will then start work on a hedge fund he is launching with local venture capitalists.
Forsyth said after watching Dudzinski grow as a young investor over the summer, he knows he will excel in a career in finance.
“I have no doubt that one day he will become a successful investor given his financial skill set, his dedication, and most importantly, his enthusiasm towards to the profession,” Forsyth said.
The award ceremony will take place April 17 at the annual CEIA conference in Chicago. Dudzinski will give an acceptance speech, sit on a student panel and will presented with a $500 award and recognition plaque.
Dudzinski is the second UW Oshkosh student to win this competitive award. Anthony Goebel (BBA ’10) was the 2009 award winner.