Wright State University students have grown an investment portfolio nearly four times since an initial allocation by the school in 2007.
Students in Wright State’s Raj Soin College of Business are given an opportunity to get real-world portfolio management experience through a semester-long course.
Through the course, Real Money, students are able to manage and invest in stocks with a university fund account.
According to Matt Ingram, WSU Board of Trustees in 2007 allocated $500,000 to the Raider Asset Management account.
“The students manage the portfolio, they make all of the decisions,” Ingram said. “They decide what to buy and what to sell. They can only work with the stocks and cash in the portfolio.”
The class size is typically less than 10 and students interested go through an application process. Ingram hopes to expand the class to more students in the future.
The fall 2019 semester had seven students managing the account.
“In other courses, you use theoretical dollars, but this course taught me a lot about how to value a company,” WSU senior Ben Inzitari said.
Students have helped the portfolio to flourish into a nearly $2 million fund. According to Ingram, that’s an average growth of 13% each year depending on the year.
“It’s a really great opportunity for students to learn about managing real money. They get to actually get their hands dirty doing research, picking stocks, figuring out what makes a good company, and what makes a good investment,” Ingram said.
The S&P 500 index is the benchmark for all stock market investors, which are the prices of 500 of the companies in the United States.
“Over time only 25% of mutual fund managers can beat this benchmark in any form of consistent basis,” said Ingram. “And for the semester, our students beat the benchmark.”
The rate of return was greater than the S&P 500, Wright State’s Raider Asset Management earned around 9.75% return while the S&P was 8%.
“I think what’s interesting about this fund, it gives students a real-world experience while they are in college,” said Ingram. “They can see what portfolio managers actually do, because they become one.”
At the end of each semester the board of trustees, representatives of Foundation, and university finance are invited to a presentation about the account by the students.
“We couldn’t be prouder of how this is run, we have this award-winning trading room that they are working in and the Bloomberg Terminals they’re able to use for better analysis. The students end up with these really good skills,” said chair of department of finance and financial services, Marlena Akhbari
The trading room is located in the Soin Trading Center, which has a computer lab with a stock ticker tape that runs across the ceiling.
“Being able to participate in an actively managed fund has also reinforced many of the concepts that we have been taught here at Wright State as well; which was helpful when the answers were not always clear when we made decisions,” senior Shawn Greaf said.
Students that are involved in the class learn how to utilize tools such as Bloomberg, Ibbotson, and Baseline.
“It was beneficial to do the same type of work an equities analyst and portfolio manager would do on a daily basis; things like keeping up with market news, updating the other analysts on changes and consistently valuing companies trying to find good opportunities,” Greaf said.
During the summer, students who managed the account in prior semesters help monitor and manage the portfolio on a volunteer basis.
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