CULLOWHEE – Students and faculty from the Western Carolina University College of Business attended the Tennessee Valley Authority Investment Challenge Conference and Job Fair recently in Nashville, Tenn.
Nineteen Tennessee Valley universities were represented. The TVA Investment Challenge allows teams of students to manage $100,000 stock portfolios for the TVA, and teams earning the highest return win scholarship monies for their universities.
Student investment management teams are held to the same guidelines as the TVA’s professional money managers. The TVA appoints a trustee who monitors the investments to ensure that they remain within the corporation’s guidelines.
WCU students have participated in the TVA Challenge each year since the competition began in 1998. Winning schools will be announced next April.
“My students are gaining invaluable real-world experience you normally can’t get before graduation,” said Grace Allen, WCU associate professor of finance. “They’ll be able to bring this experience to their professional careers from the start.”
Featured speaker at the conference was Peter Ricchiuti, assistant dean of the A.B. Freeman School of Business at Tulane University and director of research of the Burkenroad Reports.
WCU senior Josh Scott of Lexington, a financial planning major, said, “I always understood the importance of research in uncovering investment opportunities, but Peter Ricchiuti impressed on us the extent you have to go out and fish for overlooked firms that have been undervalued by the market. The South has a lot of firms like that, which represent excellent investment opportunities.”
Another senior financial planning major, Wayne Self of Hickory, said, “Investors benefit from the prospect of above-market returns, and the investment helps finance regional economic development.”
Senior corporate finance major Samantha Briatico of Chattanooga, Tenn.,
added, “The whole process only works as long as finance and banking professionals
do the right research and investors pursue appropriate investment strategies.”
Each conference features a job fair attended by recruiters from a wide range of businesses, including money-management companies, commercial banks, and investment banking firms.
Other WCU students attending the conference were Brandon Anderson, a financial planning major from Robbinsville; Kelly Crawford, a Hayesville resident in WCU’s master’s degree program in business administration; Julie Hargis, a financial planning and corporate finance major from Sylva; Rupesh Patel, a corporate finance major from Greensboro; Dwayne Powell, a financial planning major from Canton; and Daniel Rhodus, a corporate finance major from Hickory.
Also participating from Western’s faculty was Robert F. Mulligan, assistant professor of economics.