ST. GEORGE – Twenty finance students in Dixie State University’s Udvar-Hazy School of Business are taking their investment in education to a whole new level. The students are using what they have learned in the classroom and are investing real money – with real results and profits.
Under the direction of Hal Anderson, president of Soltis Investment Advisors and instructor of the newly-minted portfolio practicum course, DSU students have created a Student Managed Investment Fund. The investment fund provides an opportunity for selected students concentrating on finance to gain valuable experience managing an actual portfolio.
SMIF is made possible through over $100,000 in funds provided by the DSU Endowment and private individuals. The student teams interview each investor in an effort to develop a risk profile, and from that information, the students build a portfolio around the client’s investment goals. Student teams are then each given $25,000, and are assigned to a trading account. All investment decisions are made and executed by student team members.
“These funds are not gifted, but fiduciary control is given to the students. Experience is the real teacher here,” Anderson said. “We are indebted to these individuals for providing this learning opportunity and hope that we can raise the interest of other individuals for future classes.”
Dixie State’s SMIF program follows a growing trend at more than 300 other colleges and universities nationwide, which gives students the power to make investment decisions that have real consequences. The students accepted to manage the fund are entirely responsible for the investment decisions of the SMIF. The analysts establish the stock selection criteria, research the prospective stocks, generate reports, make the decision whether or not to invest in the stocks, and execute the trades.
“It really increases the pressure when you know you are making decisions that affect an another person’s savings,” senior finance student Cedric Johnson said.
DSU Business Department Chair Dr. Kyle Wells saw first hand how successful a similar program like Dixie’s was at the University of New Mexico. He noted that DSU finance faculty members serve in an advisory capacity by answering questions and making presentations to educate the students on various aspects of investments, though faculty advisors will not determine the outcome.
“I’ve seen what this course can do for students on other campuses, but these students are immersing themselves in financial markets and current events beyond my expectations,” Wells said. “Their portfolios have benefited from recent market advances, but more importantly, they have consistently beat their benchmark indices.”
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