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      Managing Money

      Students in Money Club Find Success Managing Investment Funds

      Money Club

      Student Managed Investment Fund

      Junior finance majors Ryan Yost, left, and Jonah Boileau manage approximately $700,000 through the Widener Student Managed Investment Fund.

      Junior finance majors Ryan Yost and Jonah Boileau have a responsibility that most other college students never experience. In between classes and clubs, the two make real-life, real-time decisions that sway an investment fund worth approximately $700,000.

      As part of the Widener University Student Managed Investment Fund run by the Money Club, Yost oversees the large cap fund, which invests in the "big fish" of Wall Street such as Apple and Boeing, and Boileau manages the mid cap fund, which focuses on smaller companies worth $2 billion to $10 billion.

      Buying and selling stocks – with the goal of growing the fund – is no easy task, but the students and their team of classmates have found success this year. As of the end of September, returns on the large cap fund outperformed the benchmark S&P 500 by almost double, while the mid cap fund has held steady with the Russell 2000 Index.

      The true gains, however, go far beyond financial returns.

      "Students in Money Club aren't just learning how to manage real money," said Professor Iqbal (Monty) Mansur, who advises the Money Club with Associate Professor Babatunde Odusami. "They are gaining valuable experience in finance and building relationships with industry professionals that will carry them into many types of careers."

      The Money Club boasts over 100 members and meets regularly to discuss not only the student managed investment fund, but also for career-building activities. The club is hosting two executives in residence this semester and is organizing trips to the New York and the Philadelphia Stock Exchanges.

      These opportunities bolster the work being done by the students in the club who oversee the investment fund.

      The student managed fund began in the 1980s with a donation to the School of Business Administration for use by students to practice investment strategies. The fund was initially administered as part of a portfolio management course, but the Money Club assumed responsibility for it in 2012, giving even more business students and others interested in finance the opportunity to participate.

      In 2015, the fund grew nearly eight times in size when the university's Board of Trustees authorized the transfer of $500,000 from the university's endowment portfolio to the student managed fund. The students benefited again last year when the university opened a new state-of-the-art Finance Lab equipped with computer stations featuring Bloomberg Professional service, a platform that delivers data, news and analytics relevant to the financial service industry.

      money club

      Large Cap Fund Performance

      The Widener Student Managed Investment Fund Large Cap has outperformed the benchmark S&P 500 this year.

      Deshawn Ivey, a junior finance major and economics minor, said the financial investment and new lab showed a deep commitment from the university to providing students with experiential learning opportunities.

      "It feels great to know the university trusts us," said Ivey, the Money Club secretary. "Even though we are not professionals, we are trying to become professionals, and we take this responsibility very seriously."

      Ivey is one of many students who analyze stocks and then report findings to Yost and Boileau, the portfolio managers. The managers review and pitch buy or sell recommendations to an advisory board made up of professional leaders in the world of finance who provide guidance on investing strategies.

      Boileau said the process has allowed him to grow as a leader and effective communicator.

      "I have to explain complicated ideas to a board of people whose job it is to prevent us from losing money," he said. "You have to think like a car salesman, but it is even harder than that because we are dealing with stocks, which are completely intangible."

      Yost said the student managed investment fund is a learning experience he may not have received at another university.

      "I have the opportunity to invest real money," he said. "A program like that is second to none."

      Click here to see a close-up of the Large Cap Fund Performance chart. Learn more about undergraduate experiential learning and business programs.


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