The Oakland Post

Students entrusted with $2 million investment fund

By Dani Cojocari

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Oakland University put $2 million into the hands of its finest: the students. 

On Wednesday, Sept. 30, the Kresge Foundation and Oakland University announced a new student-managed investment fund that will provide students with a real-world experience of managing stocks. 

“This investment will open the doors to great possibilities for our students and faculty,” President George Hynd said as he began the announcement ceremony held in Elliott Hall’s data analysis lab.

Undergraduate students who take the 400-level business course, Managing Investment Funds, will learn the essentials of portfolio management, stock selection and portfolio evaluation while managing the investment provided by the Kresge Foundation.

Oakland University alum Rob Manilla, Vice President and Chief Investment Officer of the Kresge Foundation investment team, was the first guest speaker to address the new fund and course. 

“This is not just about the two million. It’s really the curriculum,” Manilla said. “The students led through this curriculum will actually pick a stock, and they’ll learn how to value stocks and how to create portfolios. They’ll learn what risk measures are.”

Not only will students be exposed to real-world situations, they will also be able to immerse themselves in a realistic setting.

The data analysis lab was renovated to include two large plasma screen televisions to show stocks and a real-time stock market ticker along the wall. However, the most impressive upgrade is ten dual screen Bloomberg terminals — special computers that can access the Bloomberg Professional service to monitor and analyze market data.

“The beauty of the lab is that it gives students the tools they will use in the real world,” Manilla said. “It gives students a glimpse into what this profession is. Graduates from Oakland will have one step up against the competition.”

Rip Rapson, President and CEO of the Kresge Foundation, praised the concept of putting students in control of the investment fund.

“The students, together with the faculty, are going to make this project hum in ways we can’t even begin to imagine,” Rapson said. “We’ll see the success of the program when other Michigan companies — the GMs, the Fords, the Strikers — are fighting to hire graduates of this program.” 

Hannah Becker, a senior majoring in Finance, decided to take the class for the real world experience.

“It’s like having an internship, but it’s a class,” she explained. “It’s a great thing to put on a resume.”

The experiences and lessons learned during this course will give Oakland University graduates a big advantage in the business and investment field.

Manilla said it best when giving his final piece of advice for the students taking the course. “Learn Excel and Bloomberg. Get good at them and you are like gold.”

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