Finance majors help grow $3.9 million student-managed portfolio

December 18, 2023

Finance students presenting QU's investment portfolio in front of the trustees, president.

Clever decisions made at the right time, backed by rigorous market analysis and research, resulted in a strong return for a nearly $4 million portfolio of value and growth funds run exclusively by Quinnipiac undergraduate students majoring in finance.

The latest iteration of the portfolio was shepherded by a team of student fund managers and analysts during the Finance 450 fall semester course led by professor Matthew O’Connor with professor Ted Koly, ‘06, MBA ’08, and graduate assistant Saliba Kaoud ’23, MBA '24.

The value fund returned 13.37% year to date, and the growth fund returned 58.5% year to date. The results went public at the Student-Managed Portfolio Outlook and Analysis presentation on December 13 in the Echlin Center on the Mount Carmel Campus.

Fund managers Charles Lehourites ’24 and Ryan Keaveney ’24 led a performance review with year-to-date performance alongside five-year performance; together with a macroeconomic outlook, sector allocations, and outlook moving forward. Additionally, 10 student analysts presented a sector-by-sector review, including some new additions added to the portfolio.

President Judy Olian, members of the Quinnipiac Board of Trustees, School of Business Dean Holly Raider, faculty, alumni, students, financial professionals, parents and family attended the presentation, which was also shared live via Zoom. Guests were welcome to ask questions of the students at the end of the presentation.

The portfolio’s value fund started in 2004 with an initial allocation of $25,000 from the university’s endowment. In 2011, the growth fund was added. The portfolio’s subsequent growth to $3.9 million has stemmed from increases due to investment returns, additional allocations from the endowment and generous donations from alumni and others.

In terms of managing the portfolio, students focus on maintaining value funds by seeking longer-term, well-performing companies issuing consistent dividends. Growth funds sought by students are those companies with “growth stories” and well-above average projected growth in the coming years. Changes to the portfolio require approval by a two-thirds majority vote of the students.

Former board of trustee member M.S. Koly P '06 (also the father of alumnus Ted Koly), was on the School of Business Advisory Board in 2004 and channeled support from the Board of Trustees to initiate funding of the student-run portfolio program.

Koly credited O’Connor with fostering student-led management of the portfolio from its inception. He also thanked Dean Raider for her continued support and applauded the undergraduates for their impressive presentation.

“Tonight’s presentation, in my opinion, is one of the best that I have seen and listened to in the last few years; and I’ve been present here every year,” said Koly.

Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees, William Platt '78, who also served on the School of Business Advisory Board with M.S. Koly, said Koly has been a strong leader and “…visionary of thinking about what is possible” for Quinnipiac and its students.

“One of his clear passions has been how can we give a better learning experience to our students, by giving a meaningful portfolio to be managed,” said Platt. “There have been a lot of people who have helped to get it done, but M.S. has been the catalyst to help drive it. He’s been constant, he’s there, he’s a true believer, and he’s helped the rest of us to believe, too.”

Platt agreed with Koly that this was one of the best student presentations he’s experienced.

“You should be proud of what you’ve done, and where you are, and what you’ve learned from your experience here at Quinnipiac and in this class,” Platt told the student group.

O’Connor thanked Koly, Platt and the Board of Trustees for the continued support of this program through the years.

“It demonstrates the incredible enthusiasm and care and dedication of our Trustees over the years, and I think that’s been great for the university as a whole, but also for the Business School,” said O’Connor. “I also want to thank President Olian, along with Holly Raider. Without the support of the President and the Dean, all of the great things that happen at the Business School wouldn’t happen.”

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