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Student Investment Fund

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The Redlands Student Investment Fund is teaching University of Redlands students the importance of a dollar, and just how far they can take it.

“Our goal is to help people develop their business savvy, and be more ready to go out and manage their own money or someone else’s,” Prof. Laurie Mitchell, advisor to the fund and director of the accounting program, said. “We want to reach as many students who want the opportunity.”

The fund began in 2006, using a mock portfolio. In 2009, it received seed money, and now students have real funds to invest, with two purposes in mind: to educate students about markets and to make money to support University programs.

“We have had some winners and losers, but in general attained the goal of beating the market, not by a lot but they’ve done well,” Mitchell said. “Every loser that we’ve had has had its value in learning. The students are working very hard to effectively deploy that money to earn a return for the University.”

The fund has around 25 members who regularly attend meetings. Each meeting has a segment on the economy and news that is of interest to investors. The students evaluate one of the fund’s current holdings, and also do pitches for new stocks. In order to vote, a student must be an analyst, which requires that they make at least one pitch and attend meetings on a consistent basis.

“It’s very important to me that it is open to anybody,” Mitchell said. “You can be a freshman or a senior. One of the officers last year was a music major, and he was great and got a job in finance. We have more business and economics majors than anything else, and some accounting majors, but there are students from every year and all over the campus, and even some from the School of Business.”

Mackenzie Hom ’14, a co-president of the fund and a business administration major, got involved during his sophomore year after Prof. Jack Osborn told his class in American Capitalism about it.

“For the first few months, I simply sat in the back of the room and tried to soak up as much knowledge as possible,” he said. “Over time, I grew more confident and began to participate on a regular basis. I encourage all students to participate in the fund because it gives the skills they learn in the classroom real-world application. Whether they go on to run billion-dollar funds or simply manage a portion of their own finances, the fund gives students practical knowledge that will always be useful.”

Hom scored an internship at Target headquarters last summer, and a subsequent full-time offer. He said he doesn’t know if he would have received either had it not been for his experience with the fund.

“I was able to articulate real world examples of what it is like to work on a team, lead a team, and handle the amount of responsibility that Redlands Student Investment Fund has provided me with,” he said. “Being a part of RSIF is a unique experience that is distinguishable from other extracurricular activities on campus because of the level of responsibility that comes with managing the University's money. We have the opportunity to make an impact and create capital that can be as useful as financing a future student's scholarship and that is remarkable when you think about it.”

Co-president Frank Press ’14, a financial economics and accounting major, also found that being part of the fund has impressed people he has met professionally.

“It's been an amazing journey and I am so proud and fortunate to have been surrounded by dedicated and smart people who share my desire about the fund,” he said. “I can say truthfully that the investment fund has been the number one thing mentioned, discussed or asked about in any interview I have ever had. People are extremely interested in it and I don't think kids can get involved soon enough.”

Posted: May 16, 2014
Written by: Catherine Garcia


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