Community banks may be searching for talented young minds and good hearts to build for the future. And we may have found a great place to look – and no, it’s not the Wharton School of Business, the Harvard Business School or other big name B-schools.
Try Samford University. We have nearly 2 million reasons to make our case.
Seven students at the Birmingham, AL, school’s Brock School of Business have teamed to manage the school’s Bulldog Investment Fund. Thanks in part to their efforts, the endowment is now worth $1.9 million.
Learning the art and science of being an investment manager has been part of a course taught at the Brock School since 2008. The course began with $350,000 in seed money and has blossomed since. And this isn’t Monopoly money we’re talking here, but real cash, managed in the school’s state-of-the-art portfolio investment room. Samford’s assistant vice president for business and financial services, Lisa Imbragulio and the university’s investment manager, oversees the student team.
“The students are well prepared for taking on the management of this fund, not just from a financial standpoint, but from a broad curriculum standpoint,” said Birmingham-area bank investment manager Matt Smith, the group’s advisor. “They’re articulate, they’re thoughtful in terms of the process and they understand how to put that process into place to make the best decisions for the university.”
Each student – six undergrads and an MBA candidate – does research in financial sectors that each is interested, using cutting-edge software and subscription services, including Bloomberg.
What makes the Bulldog Fund so impressive is that the team of students manages the fund for only a semester or two, then a new group – chosen through an application process – takes the reins.
“They want to do the best job they can in the semester or two they’re involved with it,” said Smith. “They also have to take a longer-term perspective to try and make sure that what they’re doing accomplishes what is set forth in the university’s endowment.”
The reach of the class extends to the Birmingham community at large. On and off-campus outreach efforts are aimed at teaching fellow students and Birmingham residents about investing and personal finance. That effort alone benefits community banks, whose present and future customers can benefit from such counsel.
But why listen to a small group of college kids? And why Samford, who’s business school is named for the late community banker Harry Brock?
Like we said, there are almost 2 million reasons, along with some bright minds that can boost your community bank.
Please SHARE, LIKE and let me know your thoughts.