Before some Lehigh finance students start their first job on Wall Street, they’ve already got experience managing investment portfolios.
By investing actual money in three real investment portfolios, students in the Investment Management Group (IMG) learn investment strategies, performance and compliance review and basic technical analysis firsthand.
“No class or trading simulation gives the real-world impact of gaining and losing money as managing an actual portfolio,” says David Myers, professor of practice in the finance department and the IMG’s adviser.
“The impact of good and bad decisions hits home in a way they cannot when actual dollars are not involved. We pride ourselves in preparing our students to work on Wall Street and these portfolios are one key way we do that.”
The largest of the three funds, the Dreyfus Portfolio, began in 1962 with a gift from Jack Dreyfus ’35, the financial expert who pioneered mutual funds. It’s governed by a constitution that restricts investment activities and minimizes risk.
Student managers of this fund are elected and oversee the other two funds—the FSL Value and Rights portfolios—and lead the compliance review for the entire investment portfolio. In addition, they follow an industry sector and research and pitch investment opportunities.
For example, in the energy sector, they analyze the cash flow, management and background of 50 to 60 companies on a daily basis. They also do proxy voting in companies in which they own shares.
“I enjoy investing real money with the group and feeling the satisfaction of making a good stock pick,” says Sam Luftig ’12, a finance major who is on the Dreyfus Portfolio Board of Directors. “I couldn't think of a better way to learn about the markets than to actually invest in them.”
While most students in the IMG are business majors, the group is open to any student interested in finance. Peter Mauric ’12 is a political science major who has been involved in the IMG since his first year—he was president of the Rights Portfolio and is now on the Dreyfus Portfolio’s Board of Directors.
“My experience as president of Rights was wonderful,” he says. “Managing money, people and the inner workings of the club was so much fun. And we managed a decent return in post-2008 markets. I think it is a unique thing for a college graduate to be able to say he managed a $200,000 portfolio in one of the most volatile markets in history.”