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With a $10,000 donation from an alumna, a group of SUNY Plattsburgh students have formed an investment portfolio group.
The Student-Managed Investment Portfolio, or SMIP, is the brainchild of students and faculty, who over the past couple years worked to secure funding and finalize logistics so business and finance students could get hands-on investing experience with real money.
That money comes from a $10,000 gift given by Kathy MaGaw, a 1972 SUNY Plattsburgh graduate and the treasurer of the Plattsburgh College Foundation.
For MaGaw, donating to the fund was a way to help the students for years to come.
“What struck me the most was that the idea was born from the students,” she said. “It was something that was going to provide a learning experience.”
As a former senior vice president at Chase Manhattan where she ran risk management, MaGaw saw the practical components of a student-managed portfolio.
“It has an educational component and life component. They’ll learn the ins and outs of investing money. This has a real practical application. What the students might learn will prove useful to them many years from now: the learning skills, the understanding, the risk of getting involved in investing, the wins and losses that come along with that, the whole study of risk.”
Because investing is a risky endeavor, MaGaw, along with others from the College Foundation, worried about using monies that had been pledged from outside donors.
“That’s what also made me think, if I give personally to this, we’re not giving out of the foundation,” she said.
Providing the SMIP does well over generations of students, funds from its investment growth will trickle back to the foundation.
MaGaw’s generosity was lauded by the group’s project managers – Josh Venne ’11 of Plattsburgh, Chulanga Perera ’11 of Sri Lanka, senior Daniel McKenna of West Islip and junior Charlie Linder of Long Island.
The four students said without MaGaw’s gift and the help of faculty adviser Dr. Stephen Henry, this opportunity would not exist.
“It’s been a long time coming,” said Venne, who received his bachelor’s in economics and finance and plans to attend law school in the fall.
The investment group, which is comprised of between 20 and 30 students, meets every week for two hours – the first hour being devoted to research investment opportunities, and the second utilized for presentations.
“The biology department has a lab,” said Mckenna, a finance and Spanish major. “Why can’t we have something where we can get practical experience?”
His peers agreed, calling the opportunity essential to complement their coursework and land a good job.
The group is conscious of the stock market risks and, for that reason, does a tremendous amount of research.
“The main focus is continuity,” McKenna said. “It all comes down to planning. It’s all strategy.”
“The trick is to take the emotions out of it,” Venne said. “Be as rational as you can.”
"Having this in the SUNY system is amazing,” Linder said.
For more information about the School of Business and Economics at SUNY Plattsburgh, please contact: