Taking Stock: Tech Students Win National Investment Competition

By Marcia Goodrich | Published

Michigan Tech's Applied Portfolio Management Program Gold Team has taken first place in its class at the seventh annual RISE conference.

The Redefining Investment Strategy Education conference, held March 29-31 at the University of Dayton, is the largest student investment event of its kind in North America.

This is the second year that Michigan Tech has won top honors in the undergraduate division�s value category, reporting an impressive 20.96 percent annual return on their portfolio of stocks and bonds. By comparison, the all-stock S&P 500 yielded 15.78 percent.

"Value is a bird-in-the-hand style of investing," explained their advisor, Dean Johnson, an associate professor of business and economics. "The students focused on assets with a low price-to-earnings ratio, which are cheap relative to their current performance."

Other investment categories at the competition were growth, fixed income and alternative.

The team's highest-flying investment was a Federal Mogul bond, issued by a Southfield, Mich., auto parts company that is now in Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The bond was donated by financier Stan Phelps, who bought at 15 cents on the dollar. "The students sold at 62 cents on the dollar," Johnson said. "Phelps sold out earlier, but the team held on, and we made even more than he did."

On the stock side of their portfolio, the team's other winning investments were Bio-Reference Laboratories (BRLI), Sciele Pharma Inc. (SCRX) and Vulcan Materials Company (VMC).

The Applied Portfolio Management Program, a course within Michigan Tech's School of Business and Economics, manages over $1 million in the equity and fixed income markets. The fund is supported by donations from alumni and friends, and investment revenues support student travel and scholarships. For more information on the Applied Portfolio Management Program, visit http://www.sbea.mtu.edu/apmp/ .

Members of the Michigan Tech team were Kelly Guzzardo-Plewa, Adam Michaud, Josh Vehring, Devin Magnuson, Mark Malekoff, Lorn Randell, Molly Bush, Lee Warlin, Tyler Skworchinski, Shawn Granlund, Ted Simonson and Cody Meier.

Modeled after the World Economic Forum, RISE connects investment students and faculty with Wall Street. More than 1,700 participants from 218 colleges and universities attended this year's symposium.

Some of the biggest names on Wall Street and business addressed the participants, including Ralph Alvarez, president and COO of McDonald's; Paul Atkins, commissioner of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission; Peter Coors, chairman, Molson Coors Brewing Company; Jan Hatzius, chief U.S. economist for Goldman Sachs; Knight Kiplinger, editor in chief of Kiplinger's Personal Finance; and Guillermo Ortiz, governor of the Bank of Mexico.

The conference also included portfolio management workshops, career strategy sessions and networking opportunities.

The New York Stock Exchange, the Wall Street Journal, CNBC, TIAA-CREF, the United Nations and Deutsche Asset Management sponsored the event.

Michigan Technological University is a public research university, home to more than 7,000 students from 54 countries. Founded in 1885, the University offers more than 120 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in science and technology, engineering, forestry, business and economics, health professions, humanities, mathematics, and social sciences. Our campus in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula overlooks the Keweenaw Waterway and is just a few miles from Lake Superior.