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Students Get $50k to Invest – Nothing is Off Limits

Posted on 31 October 2013 | 11:47 am

Imagine giving a group of college kids $50,000 to invest however they want – nothing is off limits. That’s exactly what the College of Charleston School of Business is doing. Only they aren’t just a group of college kids. They’re 20 students hand-picked to become a brokerage firm, from which the next Warren Buffet may emerge.

Investment ProgramOn Friday, November, 1, 2013 from 9 until 10:30 a.m., the public is invited to see them in action – how they present their reports, how they choose their portfolio. Those interested can watch the event by live stream video conference.

[Related: Register for the video conference.]

The College of Charleston’s School of Business Investment Program is unique in the nation for the level of flexibility in what financial instruments can be used. In fact, the majority of the funds currently in use at universities are chained to equity-only use, which in today’s rapidly changing markets represents only a small slice of the pool of investable assets.

Investment programs using real money are not common and they are most often found in elite business schools across the U.S. In South Carolina, there are just three schools (two private, one public) currently investing with real money and the College of Charleston has the largest amount and the most flexibility.

The Investment Program is funded with a gift of $540,000 by Steve and Maureen Kerrigan. Each semester, $50,000 will be allocated for students and additional gifts to the program will boost the size of the portfolio, with any profits from the students’ investments also staying within the fund. The goal of the program, says Steve Kerrigan, is to better prepare students for potential finance careers after college.

[Related: Read more about the Kerrigan’s gift.]

Students interested in admission to the Program must submit an application and participate in an interview process. Many of the students took the Bloomberg Aptitude Test and scored above their global peers at other universities in 6 of the 7 categories such as global markets, financial analysis, economics, and charts and graphs. Twenty students were selected for the inaugural year of the Program.

[Related: Students out perform global average on Bloomberg Aptitude Test.]

“The goal of this program is to teach students the analytical skills and methodologies to succeed in today’s ever-challenging investment environment,” says Steve Swanson, founder and former CEO, Automated Trading Desk, and former managing director and global co-head of electronic trading for equities at CitiGroup.  “After meeting with the students and reviewing their research and investment methodology, I am highly impressed with their competencies.  I am also proud to hear that many of these students already have internships or job plans for post-graduation,” says Swanson, a member of the School of Business Board of Governors and the College of Charleston Foundation Board.

“Ultimately, we want to make our students more competitive in the job market,” explains finance professor Mark Pyles, director of the School of Business Investment Program. “We have always believed our students have the ability to not only compete for, but to obtain the best jobs the industry has to offer.  The mission of this Program is to give them the vehicle through which to demonstrate their abilities on a professional level.”

For more information, contact Mark Pyles at pylesm@cofc.edu.