Quite an Investment

Students gained real stock market experience while participating in Student Investment Challenge.
Friday, December 9, 2011

As their peers examine stats and tune in to weekly football games to make the appropriate trades and drafts involving their Fantasy Football teams, another group of students participated in their own fantasy league competition.

This fall, more than 50 students competed in the College of Business Administration’s inaugural Student Investment Challenge, which began September 27 and ran until December 7. During the 10-week competition, 12 student teams invested $1 million of virtual money in stocks, bonds, mutual funds and equities, which they monitored through Stock Trak, a simulated stock market game. Each team had an adviser, who is either a faculty member or finance professional, who guided students in their decisions and answered questions. The competition was designed so that the team left with the most money won.

The first place team included Adam Cohen ’12, an Accounting and Finance dual major; Matt Schirripa ’12, a Political Science major; Scott Schleiffer ’12, an Economics and Finance dual major; and adviser Dr. David Suk, associate professor of Finance. The team, which was recognized during an awards ceremony on December 8, relied on each others’ knowledge of politics and markets.

“We looked for undervalued companies that would have positive gains in the short term,” said Cohen about the team’s strategy. They also paid attention to the news regarding the European debt crisis.

The second place team included students Greg Coats ’12, Brad Jenkins ’12, Lance Chebin ’14, Alexander Pinho ’12 and Matt Winn, M.B.A., and adviser Carl Shultz, president of CFS Consulting. The third place team included students Derek Whitaker ’12, Bobby Hallowell ’12, Matt Bernard ’12, Michael Santora ’12 and Matt Vaneekhoven ’12, and adviser David Shea ’85, vice president and senior financial adviser at Merrill Lynch Global Wealth Management.

John Farrell, assistant dean of the Graduate Programs for CBA, described the competition as a “fantasy financial football.” Farrell conducted a simulation of the competition in his Personal Finance 305 class last fall. After seeing the competition’s success, he decided to run it on a larger scale.

“We saw it as a great opportunity for students to form their own teams and participate in a friendly competition in order to learn more about the stock market,” he said. “The competition is designed to get students investment savvy.”

Daniel Broll, a sophomore Finance major, helped Farrell organize this fall’s competition and competed in the challenge. In the beginning, Broll and the rest of The Geckos team were careful in their investments and opted not to buy that many stocks. However, since it’s a short-term race, their adviser Dr. Charmen Lohl, associate professor of Finance and Economics, suggested that the team buy more volatile stocks in order to make big gains.

“It’s fun. I learned more about the stock market after I got involved in the Student Investment Challenge. Now I know how investments work,” Broll said.

Allan Samilow ’83, certified financial planner for Bank of America Merrill Lynch and an adjunct lecturer of Finance and Economics, was one the team advisers.

“As making investments become a more mainstream activity, more people want to be able to understand the stock market. This competition is a great way for students to put it out there on the line and they realize, wow, it’s not that easy,” Samilow said.

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Matt Schirripa ’12, Adam Cohen ’12, Scott Schleiffer ’12, Dr. David Suk and John Farrell