Mercer Trustees Approve $1 Million Student-Managed Investment Fund

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MACON – Mercer’s Board of Trustees recently approved allocating $1 million of the University’s endowment to a new Student-Managed Investment Fund (SMIF) run by finance students in the Eugene W. Stetson School of Business and Economics under the guidance of Dr. Geoffrey (Jeff) Ngene, associate professor of financial economics.

“I’m grateful to the administration and Trustees for enabling our students to have real-world opportunities to put their skills to good use, and look forward to following their progress,” said Dr. Susan P. Gilbert, dean of the School of Business and Economics.

In 2015, Dr. Ngene and students Bryson Wright, Carter McKinnon, Andrew Sowerbrower and Jordin Post initially proposed a SMIF and developed an investor policy statement to provide guidelines for its operation. The proposal was presented to Dr. James S. Netherton, Mercer’s executive vice president for administration and finance, for consideration. After a thorough vetting by the Board’s finance committee, the trustees at their Nov. 2 meeting approved the SMIF.

Dr. Ngene launched a one-credit-hour Seminar in Investment (FIN 406) elective course three years ago in which students develop a financial analyst’s report on a stock using real data and make an objective decision on whether to include a stock in a fund, sell it if it’s already in a fund or continue holding.

Students enrolled in the seminar make presentations to their peers as well as industry judges who assist in the decision-making process, simulating how decisions are made within the trading unit of an investment bank. Students may repeat the seminar semester after semester to stay involved and gain deeper experiential learning insights as well as move from junior to senior analysts and eventually reach board and C-level status.

Past seminars have analyzed firms such as Amgen, Nike, Starbucks, Delta, Apache, Netflix, JP Morgan Chase, Johnson and Johnson, Nextra Energy and Humana, without making actual investments. The SMIF will give students real-world investment experience.

“The student-managed investment fund will afford Mercer students the best experiential learning environment to develop lifelong career skills and enable them to compete with peers from the best institutions across the United States,” said Dr. Ngene.

Finance, typically considered one of the most difficult majors offered in business schools, is one of the fastest-growing undergraduate majors in Mercer’s School of Business and Economics. Launched four years ago, the University’s finance major has grown to become the second-most popular major among business students.

Beginning next fall, FIN 406 will be a required course for finance majors, affording them valuable exposure that will help them in securing internships, jobs and entrance into graduate schools.

“Mercer’s ability to offer the Seminar on Investment and SMIF, as well as having access to the Bloomberg Terminal, provides priceless resources for attracting and recruiting new students as well as retaining the current students,” said Dr. Ngene.

About the School of Business and Economics

Established in 1984, Mercer’s School of Business and Economics is named for Eugene W. Stetson, a 1901 Mercer graduate and business pioneer who leveraged the first major buyout in corporate history. Over the past 80 years, Mercer has granted over 12,000 business degrees, and many of its graduates hold senior leadership positions in companies around the world. Mercer’s business school delivers career-focused business education programs and develops entrepreneurial leaders and responsible global citizens. It holds accreditation from the prestigious Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), which places it among the top five percent of all top business schools worldwide. Mercer’s business school has been recognized by the Princeton Review for “Greatest Opportunity for Minority Students” and “Greatest Opportunity for Women” as well as being one of its “Best Business Schools.” In addition, it has been recognized among the “Top 15 Schools in the Nation for Marketing and Accounting.” The School offers the following programs: Atlanta (Evening BBA, Full-Time (One-Year) MBA, Evening MBA, Executive MBA, Professional MBA, Master of Accountancy, M.S. in Business Analytics), Macon (Traditional BBA and Evening MBA), Douglas County and Henry County (Evening BBA). For more information, visit business.mercer.edu.

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Kyle Sears