Professor Steve Ng’s Investment Fund course is not only one of the most popular and unique classes at GSOM, it’s a must-take course for any hopeful investor. It offers an opportunity for students to team manage an equity portfolio on behalf of the Clark University endowment.
Besides covering the usual topics, such as financial statement analysis and equity valuation models, Investment Fund allows students to invest real money in the stock market, thanks to the Clark endowment. This type of hands-on, real-world experience is unparalleled, and proven quite successful for both the students and the investments.
Throughout the semester, students follow several stocks with their small class groups, and they make weekly portfolio reviews, as well as capital market updates and attribution. Their investment decisions – to buy, sell, or hold – are made and executed based on these analyses. Although this method seems simple, the decisions demand intensive research and preparation. Students sharpen several essential skills along the way – most especially, critical thinking and communication skills. Not only do students learn how to exchange investment ideas clearly and efficiently, but they are also capable of writing professional investment reports and must produce “client quality” presentations of their decisions and results. In fact, each student group must present their findings in a professional setting to local financial experts and GSOM staff, to simulate investment reviews in the industry.
“This was the most challenging course I had,” says Xinyue Fan, recent MSF graduate. “All of us gave every effort to fight for the same goal. I really enjoyed working in this kind of atmosphere… Even though the learning process was exhausting, everything was worth it.”
“I am always impressed with the students dedication and commitment,” Professor Ng adds. “It does not take them long to realize that they have to work as a team in order to outperform the market.”
He noted that the portfolio has performed extremely well over the years. It has a return of 114% in just over 8 years, or an average annual return of 9.6%.
As a Chartered Financial Analyst with over 19 years of experience working in senior positions at large investment firms, Professor Ng is enjoying his role as teacher. “It’s still fun to do investments, but now it’s more fun to do investments with my enthusiastic students,” he states.