Robert F. Mulligan, Ph.D.
Department of Economics, Finance, & International Business
WCA Finance Team Competes Against Area Colleges
Students and faculty from the Western Carolina University College of Business attended the TVA Investment Challenge Conference and Job Fair held in Nashville, Tennessee, November 2-3, at the palatial Opryland Hotel and Convention Center.  Nineteen Tennessee Valley universities were represented.  The TVA Investment Challenge allows students to manage $100,000 portfolios for the TVA.  Teams earning the highest return win scholarship monies for their university. 

Finance professor Grace Allen observed, "Many finance programs have students manage mock portfolios.  The difference here is my students are managing real money for the TVA."  Last year, Western's team beat the Dow Industrial Average by over ten percent.

"One of the most interesting facets of the conference was the opportunity to meet students from other universities and share different approaches to portfolio construction," commented senior accounting and financial planning major Bridget Tyson.  Senior economics and corporate finance major Ken Hill noted, "the TVA desires maximum total return, but each university's team develops a different portfolio, providing different levels of risk." 

"This has been an interesting time to manage a stock portfolio," said senior financial planning major Jason Morton.  "The market has been so volatile lately that the level of risk has been much higher than what we though we built into the portfolio.  We've produced good returns in this environment, but the experience has been an outstanding learning opportunity."

The conference included a variety of seminars for students and faculty on such subjects as security analysis, the Myers-Briggs personality inventory, accessing capital, professional interviewing, and career management.  The featured speakers were New York Times financial columnist Laura Pederson and outcome strategist and motivational speaker Anne Warfield.

The conference also included a job fair representing twenty firms, including such prestigious employers as Mellon Trust Bank, Wellington Management, and Deutsche Bank.

Western students who participated were Dustin Alsop (financial planning), Cornelius; Giancarla Arends, Aruba; Nicole Baker (financial planning and accounting), Asheville; Jennifer Clark (financial planning) Asheville; T. Holbrook Beasley (financial planning and corporate finance), Charlotte; Pete Eich (financial planning), Charlotte; Janet Gray (financial planning), Cullowhee; Jessica Gross (corporate finance), Cullowhee; Amber Head (financial planning and accounting), Highland, Illinois; Danielle Fournier (corporate finance), Glendale Springs; Ken Hill (corporate finance and economics), Charlotte; Mindy Hovis (accounting and financial planning), Lincolntown; Josh Hughes (financial planning and economics) Sylva; Charles Kirby (financial planning and computer information systems), Waynesville; Jason Morton (financial planning), Roanoke Rapids; Nicole Root (corporate finance), Globe, Arizona; Matt Sorrells (corporate finance), Canton; Bridget Tyson (financial planning and accounting), Clyde; and Dustin Watson (financial planning), Cashiers. 

Participating Western faculty were professors Grace Allen (finance) of Balsam, and Robert F. Mulligan (economics) of Cullowhee.

TVA Investment Challenge
WCU Press Release
Asheville Citizen-Times 12-11-2000