Stock market simulation and Student Investment Fund raise market literacy in the Business School

With the help of generous donors and committed faculty, the Lundy Fetterman School of Business has launched a Student Investment Fund. Students in an advanced finance course contribute to the fund by researching stocks and selecting potential stock picks that they then pitch to fellow classmates. The stocks with final approval are added to Campbell’s investment portfolio.  

“We feel our Student Investment Fund will elevate our overall business program through the enthusiasm of those in the course,” said Dean Kevin O’Mara. “This real money fund offers the closest thing to a real-world experience as a business school can offer.”   

Finance Professor Corrine Carr championed the idea for a student investment fund less than two years ago. The program is off to a successful start, and students interested in joining next academic year do not need to be finance majors to participate.

The Student Investment fund is not the only opportunity for Campbell students to get stock market experience. Dr. Shahriar Mostashari’s business students completed another Stock Market Game unit this semester— an experience designed to raise financial literacy and stock market familiarity.

“I tried to both recognize individual achievement (Division I) and reward team comradery (Division II) in spring 2021 semester,” Mostashari said. “Based on students’ comments, I am delighted to declare ‘mission accomplished.’”

In the Division I Individual competition field of 27 players, Vinh Q. Bui took first place with a portfolio value of $137, 915. The junior double major in marketing and management was able to gain steady profits and was ranked in the top 6 in the first two months of the contest.

“I knew I was not going to win the contest if I just invested in relatively safe stocks and wanted to take a risk,” said Bui. “Intuition told me GameStop stocks were going up and I saw hints of the event in the news. Two weeks later, I was in first place.”

The Division II victors worked as one of six teams. With a combined portfolio value of $563,625, the winners were senior accounting & economics major Shanley Koekemoer, junior business administration major Hayleigh Leonard, senior management major Hailey Huston Myles and junior Trust and Wealth majors Christin Oliver and Walton O’Neal.

“When I heard about the stock market game on the first day of class, I immediately thought ‘how can my group end up in first place?’” said O’Neal. “After researching more about the SMG and talking to Dr. Mostashari, I realized that we were allowed to short any stock of our choosing. I started looking for a way to make a steep return to help my team win the game.”

O’Neal’s strategy involved a shorting spree in which he placed a short on anything that gained over 85% in one day. The entire group took on this method, and rose straight to the top of the class leaderboard as a result.  

“Prior to this contest I had never invested in any stocks (with real or virtual cash), and honestly had no idea how trading worked,” said Koekemoer. “At the beginning of the contest it felt like I had been thrown in the deep-end somewhat and so I humbly started with the ‘popular stocks’ and ‘best EFTs’ trading ideas on the website. From there I did some more research, and got to a point where I was actively following news updates on certain companies. The stock market game certainly taught me how to navigate my way around the different options that are afforded to investors.”

The platform the students used, HowTheMarketWorks, is a free stock market game that allows users to create their own custom stock game and create educational lessons for their players. Last year, HowTheMarketworks was used in 10,000 college, high school and middle school classrooms and by hundreds of adult investment clubs. Created in 2004 to help people understand how the stock market works, the site is a glossary of the stock market, including quotes, charts, analyst ratings, company news, trading ideas and more. The stock market simulation is popular with professors and stock market clubs worldwide.