Indiana State University Newsroom

Return on investment: Students gain experience managing accounts totaling $500k

December 12, 2013

A group of Indiana State University students watches the stock ticker scroll across the screen, listing business acronyms and a swath of numerals. Upon seeing the green arrow they were anticipating, the students exhale a deep sigh of relief.

The student investment club at Indiana State monitors the New York Stock Exchange on a daily basis to see how its investments are doing. Members also plan meetings and meet with advisors. The group manages two accounts totaling just under $500,000. Members select the stocks they invest in and decide when to drop or add stocks depending on how businesses are doing. They hone in on the market as if they were hawks: Invest in the wrong company, and the account could lose money; wait too long, and they could find themselves missing out on a great opportunity.

"I do the service industry," said Cody Raymer of Paoli, a senior finance major and investment club member. "My team and I get together and go through hundreds of stocks in that industry and we pick out a few that are undervalued so we can get in at the right time and watch the price go up."

The club was started in the Scott College of Business in 2001 by Tarek Zaher, the club's faculty advisor and a finance professor at Indiana State.

Anyone from the university can join the club, which during group meetings educates others about stock. Its 40 members go into details on some of the meanings such as buy a hold, short selling and other terms that involve investment on the stock exchange.

"Some schools have a prerequisite before entering the group and other schools you have to be voted in," said club president Jason Downs of Terre Haute, an MBA student who is also enrolled in the Scott College's certified financial planning program. "We have a lot more freedom and the opportunity to reach out to a number of different students."

While the group provides opportunities for students interested in the financial services field and the chance to gain account management experience without leaving campus, the investment club's openness provides an opportunity to teach students about careers and opportunities that they might have otherwise considered, said Raymer.

"The investment club has introduced me to more possible careers in the investment field and it has opened so many doors with the people I have met," he said.

Indiana State also has taken the club a step further, this year creating the Student Managed Investment Fund (SMIF) Consortium Conference. Since its inception, more than 17 universities have already joined the organization.

"Hosting the first conference was a great learning experience for the investment club," said Brien Smith, dean of the Scott College of Business. "I am looking forward to see what they will do in the next couple of years."

This past semester the Indiana State investment club prepared for the inaugural Student Managed Investment Fund Consortium Conference in October, which featured speakers from Ameritrade, City Securities Corporation and Old National Investments.

"We received a lot of positive feedback from students, faculty and professionals. They were very impressed with Federal Hall, they loved the facilities, and are excited with what we were doing. The SMIF members support our efforts in focusing on a student led initiative," said Downs.

The students have taken trips to Chicago to visit such places like Ameritrade and tastytrade, a financial network that offers financial news and entertainment by offering shows on their website. Some of the members took a trip to New York and visited the CNBC show "Fast Money".

"Indiana State gave me the passion, for investing, along with giving me the background and tools to succeed," said Raymer. "I think seeing our professors passionate about investing and seeing our students succeed and wanting to be more successful really helped give me my passion."

Photo: - Indiana State University students and other participants in the inaugural Student Management Investment Fund Consortium Conference watch stock returns in the Minas Financial Trading Center in the Scott College of Business. (ISU/Tony Campbell)

Photo: - Cody Raymer, a senior finance major at Indiana State, chats with other participants during the inaugural Student Managed Investment Fund Consortium Conference.

Photo: - Jason Downs, president of the Student Investment Club at Indiana State University.

Writer: Beth Pickerill, media relations assistant, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-3773 or