Business students improve financial literacy with virtual stock market game

According to Dani Pascarella, the founder and CEO of financial tech company Invibed, America has a major financial literacy problem. Around 44 percent of Americans don’t have enough cash to cover a $400 emergency, 43 percent of student loan borrowers are not making payments, 38 percent of U.S. households have credit card debt, and 33 percent of American adults have $0 saved for retirement.

In an effort to be part of the solution, the Lundy-Fetterman School of Business is offering a unique risk-free academic opportunity for students to enhance their financial literacy in investing. Making thoughtful and informed investment decisions is essential to promote future financial wellbeing. 

Professor Shahriar Mostashari has partnered with Wall Street Survivor, an online stock market simulation game, to help students demystify the art and science of investing and personal finance. Wall Street Survivor has developed several personal finance courses designed to teach the basics of how to build a household budget, as well as how to develop goal setting techniques. With two million monthly page views and more than 180,000 current active investors, the site is helping new investors ensure financial stability.

Mostashari’s semester-long, hands-on experience will teach ECON 420 Money & Banking students and ECON 455 International Finance students to develop a successful investment portfolio. Working in seven teams of three or four students each, students will invest a virtual $100,000 and $200,000 margin in real world stocks, bonds, IPOs and mutual funds traded on NYSE and NASDAQ exchanges.

Each team is required to trade on at least four different trading dates and complete at least one short-sell and short-cover transaction during fall 2020 semester. They will use class lectures, textbook materials and online resources provided by Wall Street Survivor to prepare their investment portfolio reports. 

If past results are any indication, using Wallstreet Survivor’s feature to trade will make students stronger candidates in the job market. Of the 60,000 students to trade virtually last year, 89 percent say it increased their chances of employment, 86 percent say it made them feel more confident in their investing abilities, and 95 percent want their professors to continue using StockTrak in class. 

“It will be fun to ride the market’s swings – the ups and downs, booms and busts – with them,” said Mostashari. “This is as real as Stock Market games get. Students will trade in real time. I look forward to sharing their agonies and celebrating their victories — go Camels!”