Students learn to invest with real money on the line

The spring semester is full of hands-on learning opportunities, but perhaps no class has as much at stake as the “BUS-290-003 Special Topics in Business Administration: Student Led Investment Fund.”

Funded by a generous $100,000 gift from a donor, the new Hammack School of Business investment fund course is allowing students to make investment decisions with the guidance of seasoned investment professionals. They are learning how to make and execute critical allocation decisions for an investment fund with real money going into live markets.

Students and instructors gather around a student and her laptop in a classroom.

Dean Stephen Craft, left, is one of four co-instructors leading the investment class. Also pictured, Karah Lindsey, seated; Vanessa Cruz Suastegui, Oglethorpe Controller Freedom Bannerholt, Reyn Wills and Lukas Bannerholt.

The one-credit course is being team-taught by Oglethorpe Chief Financial Officer Pete Stobie, Controller Freedom Bannerholt, Hammack School Dean Stephen Craft and Trustee Milford McGuirt, a retired managing partner at KPMG and independent board member at Chick-fil-A, SAIC, Oxford Industries and HD Supply.

“This is an incredibly realistic and an invaluable experience for our students,” Dr. Craft said. “It takes on a whole new meaning for students when they are investing real money into the live market.”

The course is designed to teach students to analyze an investment opportunity, understand its value and role within a managed portfolio and pitch an investment idea to a committee of professionals. The double challenge of understanding financial risk and opportunity while displaying the communication skills to make a pitch showcase the unique experiences and benefits students gain from an Oglethorpe education.

“We’re having a great time so far,” Stobie said. “I’ve been impressed with how serious the students are taking it and how well they are doing on their research and presentations. This is a real win-win for Oglethorpe and the students.”

This course is expected to be ongoing and hopefully some students will follow this investment experience throughout their time at Oglethorpe.

“I’m looking into potentially becoming a financial analyst/personal wealth advisor in the future, so this class is teaching me the basic skills to succeed in those careers,” said Karah Lindsey, a senior from Chamblee.

The students have been able to make direct application of what they are learning to both their professional and personal goals. Junior Ethan Harrison from Marietta said he’s particularly enjoyed learning the ins-and-outs of investing in common stocks and how to make money in the market.

“I expect this class to pair nicely with my International Business minor,” said Shae-Elise Dixon, a senior from Atlanta. “When I apply for business jobs in the future, I will have more of an advantage on other applicants because I have the experience of investing real money from Oglethorpe University to help grow their investment portfolio. I also expect that this class will help me increase my passive income whenever I decide to take an investment in my personal time.”

Hammack School of Business Investment students and instructors standing in a row in a classroom.

From left, Karah Lindsey, Dean Stephen Craft, Reyn Wills, Vanessa Cruz Suastegui, CFO Pete Stobie, Controller Freedom Bannerholt, Lukas Bannerholt, and Ethan Harrison.

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