Program draws eager investors

Justin Runquist

Like the opening bell on Wall Street, the mad rush onto Novasis begins on Monday. Before logging on, however, C&F rising seniors should consider registering for one last “great investment:” a year-long experience in the Student Managed Fund.

Upon entering Bartley Hall’s new Applied Finance Lab each week, college students with varsity sweatshirts are, in essence, transformed into Armani-clad fund managers. Far from the stock market games of high school lore, students manage real portfolios worth $100,000. Armed with real-time data feeds from Bloomberg and Reuters terminals, student managers have a cutting-edge approach for making investment decisions. They share market research, talk about the economy and debate about current issues, ranging from hot picks to business ethics.

SMF has continued to grow rapidly. Since its inception in 2004, the original Arnone-Lerer Portfolio has enjoyed a return of nearly 15 percent. A new iShares fund was also established this semester – managed by a new group of students. Dr. David Nawrocki, SMF advisor, sees the cutting-edge student funds growing even further in future years.

“SMF is about student involvement,” he said. “In creating IRAFT (Institute for Research in Advanced Financial Technology), our long-term vision is bring alumni, students and faculty together.”

Many current seniors have been fortunate to benefit from this vision. This year, participants in the program managed the Arnone-Lerer Portfolio, a challenge that helped them prepare to enter the business world. Several students in the class sounded off on SMF: Danielle Quigg on managing the fund:

“I think the most exciting aspect is that you are making these decisions to invest and seeing the results that come of them … but it is not just a mock online portfolio.  This is someone’s real money. It forces you to really try to do your work well and make educated decisions about the stock market and the economy as a whole, both domestically and internationally.”

Brian Higgins on the finance lab: 

“The Applied Finance Lab has been great for the SMF students. We now have streaming access to real-time data making our investment decisions even more in sync with what is currently occurring in the marketplace.”

Dan Peterson on C&F’s commitment to students:

“Villanova made a huge investment in the lab, and plans to see its returns in us – the students use it to make ourselves better students and more prepared for life post-graduation. It is very refreshing to know the school is willing to make the kind of investment to show that the University is both willing and able to remain among the best and finest business programs in the country.”

Nick Eromin on SMF’s inspiration: 

“Being in the SMF class has given me the opportunity to be who I’ve always wanted to be, a stone cold investment hero. The success we’ve had with the SMF this year has given me a great sense of pride. Imagine how excited you were when the basketball team made the Sweet Sixteen then multiply it by 100!”

Interested rising seniors should contact Dr. Nawrocki or Andrew Rytter by email about joining our SMF team. The prerequisites are senior standing, a one-year commitment and completion of Introduction to Investments. Candidates will need to submit a resume and cover letter during registration week.