RUSTON — Finance students at Louisiana Tech University’s College of Business will soon have $1 million to invest through the Student Managed Investment Fund (SMIF). The Fund will become one of the largest undergraduate student investment funds in the state.
Students made the initial investment of $150,000 in March 2018. The Fund is managed by undergraduate finance students who are responsible for all investment research, portfolio positions, and reporting, and governed by an advisory board comprised of industry professionals.
“We are excited for our students to have the real-world experience of managing a long-term investment portfolio,” said Dr. Chris Martin, dean of the College of Business. “We would like to thank alumni Ann, ’81, and Randy Fowler, ’78, for their contributions and leadership role in raising the commitments to underwrite the Fund. The creation of the SMIF underscores Louisiana Tech’s commitment to invest in our students and provide a world-class education through applied and experiential learning.”
Students conduct their research in Ray’s Trading Room, the College’s state-of-the-art trading environment that functions as both a classroom and laboratory. Outfitted with exclusive access to the same tools and software used on Wall Street, Ray’s Trading Room has the applicable technology, devices, and software that allow students to be locked into real life simulations—making trades and performing research in real-time on companies and markets from around the world. The Fund has an annual growth objective relative to appropriate financial benchmarks.
“The SMIF is an opportunity that few people — even in the real world — would ever experience,” said JPJ Investments Endowed Professor of Finance Dr. Bill McCumber. “It benefits students by bridging the gap between theory and practice, allowing them to build and articulate demonstrable, professional, real-world experience.”
McCumber considers the course one of his favorites to teach, though he’s quick to point out that it’s not, by design, a traditional class. “If a typical classroom experience is PowerPoint slides, a textbook, and tests, this is the other end of the spectrum,” McCumber said. “This is experience with professional, real-time data, and tools, making analyses and decisions that have immediate and long-term, real-world consequences measured in real dollars.”
Students agree. “The class gives us a chance to experience real-world work and to learn from mistakes and successes in our decision-making before we enter our professional careers,” said recent finance graduate Matthew Barker, ’19. Barker, who now works as a credit analyst with Texas Capital Bank, was part of the first class to present analysis of the Fund’s performance to members of the Advisory Board.
These contributions to the College of Business are part of the University’s “Forever Loyal” Campaign and benefit the Student Managed Investment Fund, building/technology upgrades, and programming within the College. The boldest fundraising initiative in Louisiana Tech University history, the $125 million “Forever Loyal” Campaign is inspired by the achievements of the University’s first 125 years, the remarkable loyalty of alumni and friends, and the extraordinary potential for growth. Like Tech’s unique culture, the campaign is practical and value driven, focused on fostering innovation, collaboration, and service to others. Campaign priorities include undergraduate scholarships, graduate assistantships and fellowships, faculty chairs and awards, research seed funding and innovative teaching and research grants, and capital projects. For more information on the “Forever Loyal” Campaign, visit foreverloyal.tech.