Student investors grow portfolio, get boardroom experience at Wright State

Wright State student investors, who have swelled the investment portfolio they manage for the university, were given yet another real-world experience when they appeared before a university investment committee to discuss its performance.

Left to right: Zach Beck, Justin Rowden, Adam Stephens, David Arquilla

The presentation was quite a pleasant one—the students’ investment has grown from $500,000 to about $650,000 in the past five years.

“The students said they’re receiving a better experience at Wright State than any of their friends and colleagues going to any other school,” said Mark Polatajko, vice president for business and fiscal affairs and university treasurer. “This is how the administration and faculty are collaborating in providing success opportunities for our students.”

The student-led Raider Asset Management Group was established in 2007 when the Wright State University Board of Trustees allocated the Raj Soin College of Business’ Finance and Financial Services Department $500,000 for students to invest in the stock market as a teaching tool.

The students select stocks, do macroeconomic analyses and make other financial decisions to gain real-world experience. They also learn how to work successfully as a committee, drawing on the unique strengths of each committee member to synthesize a coherent investment strategy. The class is called the “Real Money” class, but it really is the “Real Life” class.

In an effort to heighten the experience even more, Polatajko recently invited the students to make a presentation along with one of the university’s outside fund managers at a Jan. 28 meeting of the university’s investment committee.

Student Zachary Beck said he appreciated the opportunity to present the students’ strategies and methods in building and preserving the portfolio.

“In the real world as a portfolio manager, you are held responsible for your actions, outcomes and performance,” Beck said. “It was great to have that same level of accountability in the classroom setting.”

The students learned that communicating with and reporting to the client is an important part of the investment management process. They discussed performance of their investments and gave a financial forecast, using a PowerPoint presentation, then answered questions from the group.

“They had an opportunity to do a professional presentation as they would to any other client, any other boardroom,” said Polatajko. “They performed in outstanding fashion.”

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