Popular, but Tough: Student Managed Portfolio Class Provides Exceptional Learning Opportunity Managing Real Money

Among students there is a class that is known to be demanding and rigorous, but provides exceptional hands on learning…all for one credit hour. Only the brave and serious apply.

The competitive Student Managed Portfolio class gives real-world experience to finance students interested in the area of investments and portfolio management. Students manage a portfolio of equity investments using real money provided by the NIU Foundation, with seed money generously provided by the Treasury Management Association of Chicago (TMAC). The class size is kept small to allow for participatory learning. Students must apply to be considered for the class, and they can enroll up to three times. Students meet twice a week to discuss buy/sell recommendations, portfolio performance, and current news pertaining to stocks and the equity markets. Students who are taking the class for a second or third time hold senior manager positions and have more extensive responsibilities than the new students (junior managers).

Over the past 10 years, the Student Managed Portfolio earned an average annual return of 9.15% versus the average annual return of 8.84% for the overall market (S&P 500). Student Managed Portfolio class professor, Dr. Gerald Jensen, says, "The portfolio's performance is impressive considering the market volatility over the period. I continue to see our students putting in significant effort, and our alumni enjoy getting involved by getting in the classroom to discuss investment strategy with the students."

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For more information on how to get involved with the Student Managed Portfolio class, contact Dr. Gerald Jensen at gjensen@niu.edu.

Dr. Jensen Announces New Book Contract with McGraw Hill at Annual Economic Outlook Luncheon

Teaming up with Dr. Robert R. Johnson from Creighton University and Dr. Luis Garcia-Feijoo from Florida Atlantic University, Dr. Jensen signed a book deal with McGraw Hill. Announcing this at the annual MBA Economic Outlook Luncheon, Dr. Jensen shared the working title, "Maximizing Portfolio Performance: Let the Fed Be Your Guide" and gave a brief summary of the book.

"In this book we demystify Fed policy and provide a rationale as to why market participants should care about the Fed and its actions," Dr. Jensen explains. "In addition, we provide a roadmap that individual investors and investment managers alike can follow to help them manage their portfolios more effectively, by taking into account Fed policy. In order to provide a comprehensive evaluation of potential investments, our analysis extends beyond US equity markets and includes foreign equities (of both emerging and developed markets), fixed income securities, real estate, and commodities."

Dr. Jensen is thrilled to provide readers with guidance for navigating the investment landscape and avoiding common pitfalls. He wants to ensure this book gives practical advice with easy to understand terminology for both the casual investor and the investment professional.

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Recognition of Excellence
NIU has officially been welcomed into the CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) Institute University Recognition Program. CFA is a global association that sets the standards for the industry gold standard. NIU's Department of Finance curriculum and faculty met rigorous standards to receive this prestigious recognition.

Created for Students, By Students: NIU Investment Association Competition Winner Earns 32% Return on Investment

In 2009, three students wanted something different. Sure, listening to guest speakers in a large auditorium has its purpose, but these students wanted more interaction outside of the classroom experience. And they wanted something more personal than the typical FMA (Financial Management Association) meetings provided. As a result, the NIU Investment Association was born.

This discussion-based forum meets weekly and draws interest from students across disciplines and from all levels. "We have freshman students all the way to students in graduate school," shares association advisor and Assistant Professor of Finance, Gina Nicolosi. "We also have a large range of majors, including Economics, Engineering, Liberal Arts & Sciences, and Health & Human Services."

During meetings attendees spend most of their time discussing, or debating, current economic events like the government shutdown and the debt ceiling — most of which can have dramatic effects on the stock market. Members also do cursory analyses of a selected stock. Students volunteer to create and give brief presentations (for example, a graduate economics student discussed a handful of firms engaged in green technology), and there is an ongoing portfolio simulation competition currently hosted by WallStreetSurvivor.com.

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For more information on the Investment Association visit their website www.cob.niu.edu/investmentclub/ or contact Gina Nicolosi at gnicolos@niu.edu.

Distinguished Donor Profile - Jeff Eckmann

NIU's Defensive Player of the Year, second-team Academic All-American, and the university's most outstanding student athlete (1973), Jeffrey “Jeff” Eckmann didn't think he'd find passion off the field in Dr. Donald Kieso's classroom. In fact, Jeff had planned on being a dentist…until the chemistry lab schedule conflicted with football. But he found himself comfortable and confident in accountancy classes, and thoroughly engaged with Professor Kieso's teaching. Jeff credits Dr. Kieso for sparking his interests in a subject matter off the field and steering him towards a career in accountancy—and today he's grateful.

Jeff is a NIU President's Circle member, Treasurer of the NIU Foundation Board of Directors, key supporter of the Donald E. Kieso Endowed Chair in Accountancy, and namesake of a locker room at the Yordon Center. “I have been involved in supporting athletics over the years, most recently as a leadership donor to the Chessick Practice Center. Enhancing the university's athletic facilities has been important for building on the success of the football program and all the other sports at NIU,” explains Jeff. “I also wanted to support the College of Business, and found the perfect opportunity when I heard about the Don Kieso Endowed Chair. I knew that was something I wanted to support.” Dr. Kieso had a significant impact on the beginning of Jeff's career. He placed Jeff as an intern with a major public accounting firm, which resulted in his first job.

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Vol. 2, Issue 12          December  2013


December 3, 2013
MBA Economic Outlook Luncheon
See event photos

December 5, 2013
Finance Networking
Rosemont, IL
See event photos

December 6, 2013
Huskie Football Watch Party
Lombard, IL
See event photos

For details or to Register

In January's Edition:
Student Career Success
Read about how the College of Business is focusing on President Baker's main initiative.

Donors are key to our success. You help provide day-to-day essentials in the classroom, scholarship awards for hard-working students, and program and faculty support. You impact every facet of the university, and the entire NIU community is grateful for your generosity as one of our distinguished donors.

Dean's Circle Members are recognized by giving $1,000 - $4,999 annually.

President's Circle Members are recognized by giving $5,000 and above annually.

Founders Forum Members are cumulative lifetime donors of $50,000 and above.

View College of Business
Dean's Circle Members

(a/o 10/31/13)

View College of Business President's Circle Members
(a/o 10/31/13)

Thank you for your support.

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