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 students to manage $100,000 portfolios for the TVA, and teams earning the highest return win scholarship monies for their universities.
"Many finance programs have students manage mock portfolios," WCU finance professor Grace Allen said. "The difference here is my students are managing real money for the TVA." Last year, Western's team beat the Dow Industrial Average by more than 10 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," said senior accounting and financial planning major Bridget Tyson of Clyde. Senior economics and corporate finance major Ken Hill of Charlotte said, "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 of Roanoke Rapids. "The market has been so volatile lately that the level of risk has been much higher than what we thought 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 20 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, Ill.; Danielle Fournier
(corporate finance), Glendale Springs; Ken Hill (corporate finance and
economics), Charlotte; Mindy Hovis (accounting and financial planning),
Lincolnton; 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, Ariz.; 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.