Students to gain practical experience with new investment fund
Tomorrow's Wall Street giants could be today's UMass Dartmouth students
Tomorrow's Wall Street giants could be today's UMass Dartmouth students.
Under a program initiated by the UMass Office of the President and the UMass Foundation, a $25,000 student-run investment fund has been created to give UMass Dartmouth students a first hand marketplace experience in creating and managing an investment portfolio.
"Basically, it's like a boot camp to teach real life money management to students," said UMass Dartmouth Vice Chancellor for Advancement Jeffrey Wolfman. UMass Dartmouth, along with the UMass campuses in Amherst, Boston, and Lowell will gain valuable skills and compete against each other as they try to achieve the highest rate of return. The winner will be recognized at the end of the year at a banquet.
Alumna Maria Furman '76 (political science) is a member of the oversight board that will coach and mentor the students. A portfolio manager for 26 years, Furman anticipates that participants will research investments, make asset allocation decisions and buy any stocks they feel are good investments. Both domestic and international markets are open to them.
"It will be real investing, not a paper portfolio," Furman said. "They have $25,000 to invest as they see fit. This will encourage them to read and follow current market events, form an opinion on the economy and possible market behavior, and invest accordingly," she explained.
Associate Professor of Accounting and Finance Michael H. Anderson is faculty advisor to the student investors. He said that the student-run fund presents a number of attractive benefits for those involved. "Not only does it reinforce investment lessons, but it also makes them less abstract since we're working with real money. Further, the fund's returns will ultimately be turned into scholarships for UMass Dartmouth students."
Other pluses include the opportunity to interact with university leaders and business professionals with the potential for networking and future job opportunities. The fund is regarded as UMass Dartmouth Foundation assets and it is traded in a segregated account set up by that office with JPMorgan. Students will call Boston to place trades and will be able to see their account online.
Dan Fernandez and Liza Lennox, both senior finance majors from Mashpee, are student officers for the project.
"I hope to take away knowledge from those with whom I'm closely working, great team experience and cooperation, time management skills and a better understanding of analyzing the market," Lennox said.
Fernandez encourages other students to get involved. "Regardless of your major or career choice, investing is an important tool to understand and use."
Student Officer Sarah Killingbeck, a junior finance major from Norton, has minors in economics and international business. "My ultimate goal is to be involved with international finance," she said. "I love the global economy and the idea of doing business all over the world...From this experience, I want to gain a foothold in the business of finance, making valuable connections and learning the necessary things to put me ahead of the competition in the workforce."
Junior Jacqueline Weatherby, a finance major from South Yarmouth, expects helping to run the fund will cement her interest in the field. She anticipates one day working in a fast-paced investment job as a broker or using her skills to invest in arbitrage strategies. "After taking my first investment course, I realized that this was what I wanted to do. I later noticed this opportunity to get hands on experience and apply what I have learned to the market, so I couldn't turn it down," she said.
Furman added that this project was launched at a difficult time, with the markets down approximately nine percent since January, putting it in bear market territory. "I expect the students are a little surprised and nervous to be part of this volatile stock market. It is not usually this bad in this short a time frame, but it is the real world of investing, bull and bear markets in the same year. They are going to learn a lot," she said.
Author: "John Hoey"
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