FIU students beat the market, take on NYC.

They took New York by storm. Their investment strategy beat the S&P 500. And they helped pioneer an important new financial education program for high school students.

For Juan Alfonso, Alex Chediak, Ignacio Chavarria, Justin Garcia, Lauren Gonzalez and Charles Stack—students in Florida International University’s (FIU) Student Managed Investment Fund—it was a banner spring.

“Students running our investment fund are the cream of the crop,” said Helen Simon, the College of Business Administration faculty member who teaches the investment fund class. “They served as excellent representatives of FIU’s finance program in the nation’s financial capital.”

FIU was one of a select few schools chosen to present its investment portfolio at the Quinnipiac G.A.M.E. conference, a prestigious national investment competition and educational conference for college students that took place March 29-31 in New York City.

Justin Garcia, Charles Stack, Juan Alfonso, Lauren Gonzalez, Ignacio Chavarria and Alex Chediak at the Quinnipiac G.A.M.E. conference in New York City

Simon praised the students’ investment decisions.

“Not only did we beat the return of the S&P 500 over the last four years, but we also did so with a lower degree of risk,” she said.

On the same trip, the six student sector managers for the FIU fund toured the New York Stock Exchange. They got an up-close look at the trading floor, and an opportunity to speak directly to specialists and traders at work in the heart of the nation’s financial engine.  In addition, they had the opportunity to tour the offices of Bloomberg, and got a taste for life on Wall Street, where several of them plan to pursue careers.

Students gain from experiences in investing and coaching.

At FIU, these students also served as informal coaches to a group of students from Northwestern Senior High School, who learned the ins-and-outs of managing their own investment fund in an FIU program called the Education Effect.

The trip capped off another successful year for FIU’s fund, which began with a $200,000 investment and has shown remarkable success in challenging financial times.

“The fund is a great real-world experience, an opportunity to apply academics to the working world, where decisions are made every day,” said Lauren Gonzalez (BBA ’12), who managed investments in the financial sector. “At the conference, we were able to see what other funds were doing, so we have some new ideas for the FIU fund next year’s students will manage.”

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