High-tech classroom makes day trading part of the curriculum
by Ashlie Day
Fresno State students are getting a taste of Wall Street with the new stock trading room in the Craig School of Business. The students manage a $3 million portfolio for the Fresno State Foundation as part of the Student Managed Investment Fund program.
The trading room features dedicated terminals, big screen TVs and a live stock ticker. Dr. K.C. Chen, chair of the Finance and Business Law Department and adviser of the program, says he has wanted to see this project to fruition for many years.
“The trading room gives students a real-world experience they cannot get in a simulation exercise,” Chen says. “Learning the market takes time and being able to practice in real time is extremely beneficial for our students interested in managing investments and portfolios.”
Stephen Heinrichs, chair of the Foundation Investment Committee, says the Foundation is proud of the students and the returns they’ve generated for the fund.
“This fund, as well as the new trading room, is part of a long-term plan to enable the University to both attract quality students and faculty and to bring Fresno State a nationwide, premier reputation in terms of business education,” Heinrichs says.
The trading room, funded by a $45,000 gift from Wells Fargo, is one of only four on-campus stock training labs in California.
“I love discussing the impact that different factors have on stock prices,” says senior finance student Renan de Lima. “As a finance major, you are trained to look into a company’s financial health and industry information, but this course has shown me the importance of also keeping up with economic trends and world events.”
Dr. Robert Harper, dean of the Craig School, says he is grateful to Wells Fargo for providing students this learning opportunity.
Chen says the class currently manages three portfolios at Fresno State — including $45,000 and $140,000 portfolios — along with the Foundation’s $3 million.
De Lima says the biggest challenge this semester has been stepping into the role of an actual asset manager and taking responsibility for the work that needs to be done.
“We have a fiduciary duty to act solely in the school’s best interest,” de Lima says. “But we are very fortunate to be led by Dr. K.C. Chen, who has a lot of knowledge and experience about the relationship between risk and return and how to apply different valuation models and techniques in the decision-making process.”
Chen says he would like the class to be extended to students in other majors in the future. “A lot of students do not even know how to balance their checkbooks, so I think giving all students the opportunity to succeed in the financial world will leave our economy in a better place.”
“Wells Fargo is proud to be part of this unique opportunity that gives Fresno State students real-time, hands-on experience that will give them a competitive edge. In the trading room they’ll be able to gain skills that will help them professionally, and can also help them personally succeed financially.”
Central Valley president
— Ashlie Day is a student news assistant in University Communications at Fresno State.