MSF Experiential Learning

Gain Valuable Real-World Experience

Experiential learning is a hallmark of the Carlson School and a key component of the MS in Finance program. Classroom study comes alive with experiential learning projects that challenge students to apply what they’ve learned for real client companies. The experience deepens student learning while simultaneously building skills employers want to see on a resume. Students often cite experiential learning as their favorite – and most valuable – part of the program.


Carlson Funds Enterprise

The Carlson Funds Enterprise (CFE) allows a select number of students the opportunity to fully manage and market over $50 million of real investment money for real clients, with real, competitive returns.

Real Funds, Real Students, Real Results

Click here to learn more about the Carlson Funds Enterprise, including both the Carlson Growth Fund and Carlson Fixed Income Fund. In contrast to other enterprises, the CFE is not just a project; it is a true, year-round asset management business, involving real-time decisions with real financial effects on our clients across the country.

CFE students also have exclusive access to the full CFE network of client companies, advisory board, and industry mentors, as well as investment networking opportunities, industry events, scholarships and fellowships, case competitions, and job and internship postings. Click here for examples of recent and upcoming CFE events.


Work with Leading Companies to Solve Real Financial Problems

MSF students interested in investment management may apply to join the CFE for the experiential learning component of the program, or may select from a variety of projects with client companies.

Our past experiential learning client companies have included Fortune 500 companies across industry sectors. Investment banks, asset management firms, healthcare providers, retail companies, real estate management companies, and a variety of others have all partnered with our program for experiential learning. MSF students work directly with a partner company on a semester-long project with real-world impact for their clients.

portrait of Suyog Dahal
The Experiential Learning Project was one of the most valuable and unique aspect of MS in Finance program at Carlson School of Management. The program secured excellent semester-long projects with premier hedge funds and investment firms in Minneapolis, offering hands-on experience working with seasoned investment professionals. My project with Houlihan Lokey was a contributing factor in pivoting my career search, as I gravitated toward fixed income and distressed investing. 
– Suyog Dahal, Analyst - U.S. Bank Loans, Columbia Threadneedle

Boost Your Resume with Client Work

Working in teams of four to six, MSF students work directly with their partner companies using the knowledge, skills, and tools learned in the classroom to derive business value for their clients. Advised by faculty and staff members, students run their own projects from start to finish, assessing needs and devising project-specific approaches to the work.

Experiential learning projects take place across the full spring semester, and students finish their MSF degree ready for the full-time job market, with valuable, real-world experience.


Below are examples of past experiential learning project topics from our partner companies:

Asset management
Asset Management
  • Investment product analysis
  • Asset/liability study
  • Portfolio risk analysis
Corporate Finance
Corporate Finance
  • Capital structure analysis
  • Retail expansion or market analysis
  • Division profitability analysis
 Risk Management
Risk Management
  • Currency, interest rate, or commodity risk assessment
  • Value at Risk (VaR) analysis

Contact Master of Science in Finance