Investment Portfolio Challenge teams face the market - and each other -
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Investment Portfolio Challenge teams face the market – and each other

OK, teams, you each have $5 million to invest. Get to it!

In a nutshell, that’s the premise and guideline for the inaugural Investment Portfolio Challenge at The University of Tulsa. During much of fall 2019, teams of four to six students from TU and other universities in the region are deploying their analytical skills, financial acumen and financial market intuition in a quest for stock market success.

On Nov. 20, each of the teams will spend 45 minutes – plus a 15-minute Q&A – presenting their recommendations for optimal weighting of the 11 Global Industry Classification Standard (GICS®) sectors in the S&P 500® index. They will also recommend up to three stocks in each sector, worth a maximum cumulative budget of $5 million.

No risks, all benefits

The Collins College of Business is hosting the Investment Portfolio Challenge and leveraging the finance department’s Student Investment Fund and attendant course infrastructure. The course’s faculty adviser, Tally Ferguson, serves as an adjunct instructor of finance at TU. Ferguson is also a senior vice president and director of enterprise risk management at BOK Financial. The Investment Portfolio Challenge grew out of Student Investment Fund, a popular hands-on investing course taught by Ferguson and established in 1997 by Friends of Finance. The Student Investment Fund is among the 25 largest student-managed investment funds in the United States.

“Students who take part in the competition will benefit from close, sustained engagement with core finance concepts of portfolio diversification and fundamental analysis and stock-valuation,” Ferguson said. “It will also be a great opportunity to work as part of a team. Students will be able to share ideas with others whose perspectives and research techniques might be quite different.”

Welcome to the inaugural Investment Portfolio Challenge

Aleks Rapp, a TU accounting and finance senior, said he hopes “to see great competition and thinking outside the box from a bunch of individuals.” There are six people on Rapp’s team: “They are all highly talented and great individuals to work with, and we’re all super excited to be competing. We’re excited to learn and we like to put work into things we are passionate about.”

One of the team members is Madeline Soukup, a senior double-majoring in economics and finance. “I am in charge of macroeconomic analysis for the team,” she said. “My role is to set the stage for what the equity analysts are going to pay attention to when they are making their decisions, such as any major risks or growth opportunities. It’s my job to identify those.”

“The benefits of this competition for students can’t be underestimated,” Soukup said. Drilling down into the learning benefits, Rapp underscored “the real-world applicable experience of trying to figure out how to put everything together in one portfolio. That’s something I believe employers will be interested in, as is being able to deliver a presentation in front of other people.” Added Soukup: “Being able to demonstrate to employers that you are capable of communicating effectively and that you are effective in the tools of your trade is extremely valuable.”

Indeed, Ferguson’s sights are also set on the business community. By having industry representatives serve as the competition’s judges, he noted, participating students will gain exposure to and networking time with potential employers.


Would you like to be part of the audience for the Investment Portfolio Challenge and see what the competitors bring to the table? RSVP to join the audience for the team presentations by registering online.