Nine Barney School of Business undergraduate and MBA students recently completed the two-semester "Applied Financial Analysis and Investments" course. They actively managed two stock funds aligned with the school’s mission to develop leaders and decision makers who are globally aware and socially responsible. From September 2014 through April 2015 they made buy, sell, and hold decisions for stocks in the Global and the Green funds. Their goal was to maximize long-term fund returns.
Prior classes have set a high bar for investment performance. This class continued to beat the benchmark returns for each of the funds. The 16.17% Green Fund return exceeded the 5.02% benchmark. And the Global Fund returned 9.18% compared to the -5.79% benchmark. Some of the biggest gains came from Global Fund equity positions in 3M, Abbott Labs, Haliburton, and United Technologies and in the Green Fund from Apple and NextEra Energy, companies with leading sustainability practices in their respective industries.
Another measure of success is the experience students gained that will help their organizations make fact-based investment decisions. "Students learn various stock evaluation metrics for making long-term investment decisions," according to instructor Jim Hogan. "But equally important is providing a real-time, team-based research, analysis, and reporting environment. Students not only achieved great returns on investment, they also gained practical skills they can use to compete for capital in the future."
Kevin Ruiz, a Barney MBA student who is now working as an analyst at Aspen Insurance, discussed the benefits of the course. "Together we learned a tremendous amount about stock screening and portfolio management," said Ruiz. "We also spent a lot of time understanding global markets and how they affect firm performance. Using a boardroom-style setting, our professors, money management experts, enabled us to learn hands-on by managing two actual funds."
Started in 2008 with $250,000 in seed funding from the University of Hartford endowment, the course has been co-taught by finance veterans and adjunct faculty members Jim Hogan ’82, ‘05 and Steve Mulready ‘77. Mulready joins the class each week via teleconference from his office in New York City. They guide students through the research, analysis, trading, and portfolio management processes. Students pitch their stock recommendations to the class and purchases are made when 70% of the class votes in the affirmative.