Pure Serendipity

In my role as Director of College Advising, I try and visit different college campuses throughout the year. One of the things that stands out is that there are more student run initiatives at the university level especially in business. Most universities have Bloomberg terminals, finance labs, entrepreneurship centers, and student investment groups. I thought to myself how great it was for the students to be able to explore their interests in this interactive, real-world environment. At Trinity, our focus has always been on how to best prepare our students for college and beyond. To that end, I started exploring the idea of forming our own student investment group at Trinity so that our students would be prepared to take advantage of these opportunities when they went to college. In a moment of pure serendipity, the Junior Achievement of East Texas was having its first ever Stock Market Challenge competition this fall where high school students would compete in a trading floor challenge.The Student Investment Group started meeting after school with guidance from two parent volunteers, Jason Dodson and Will Courington, who serve as the group’s financial advisors. We learned the fundamentals about the stock market before delving into more advanced market analyses and investment strategies. The level of student engagement in these meetings was very high, and it was great to witness how much the students enjoyed learning about finance. Less than a month after our first meeting, we had 5 teams of four compete in the Stock Market Challenge. Each team was composed of a market analyst, an asset manager, a portfolio manager, and a trade execution specialist. Each team started with $1,000,000, and the teams vied to have the most valuable stock portfolio at the end of the competition. Our students earned first and third place in the competition, and we had four teams place in the top eight. However, the real value of this competition was allowing our students to test out their investment strategies in a realistic simulation. The students learned a lot through this exercise, but they are just getting started in terms of their financial education.

The TST Student Investment Group is planning on competing in a national investing competition beginning in January. The focus of this group is to receive a financial education where students learn how to analyze different markets and how to be effective investors. Additionally, the group will learn about personal finance as well this spring. The ultimate goal of this group is to have a student managed portfolio where they invest real money based on the financial education they receive through the auspices of this group. This organization is meant to be student-driven, and it will be great to watch the students grow this organization in the future.

Ranjit Kodali
Director of College Advising