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University of Missouri

Converting Skeptics

Stock analysis skills and investment management experience trumps students’ market fears.

cash

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The stock market swoon of 2009 has left an indelible impression on young adults. Recent survey data from Bankrate.com show that adults age 18 to 29 have a far greater-than-average preference to invest in cash (savings accounts) and a lower-than-average preference for stocks.

A group of MU business students turns that trend on its head every semester.

The Investment Fund Management (IFM) class, led by Michael O’Doherty, assistant professor of finance at the Trulaske College of Business, allows a group of 10 MBA students and five undergraduates to manage a $1.5 million endowment.

Each semester, students analyze the position the previous group left them, using industry and stock analysis tools to decide which companies and market sectors they should sell and which they should add to. It’s real-world experience in a classroom setting.

I am doing almost exactly at Shelter Insurance what I was doing at the IFM,” says Ben Becker, BS BA ’13, a second-year MBA student who works in Shelter’s investment division.

A lot of people my age, when they think about the stock market, they think about 2009, and that creates an overly skeptical attitude,” Becker says. “IFM has enabled me to take a long-term view. It’s reduced my skepticism to a healthy level.”