In 1997, Friends of Finance established the Student Investment Fund (SIF), TU’s student-managed investment portfolio. The organization raised more than $300,000 to fund the SIF’s first round of investments and over the years has contributed more than $2.3 million in gifts. Through the hard work of students tasked with managing and growing the fund each semester, today the fund’s assets stand at more than $5.7 million and its earnings have provided more than $1 million in scholarships.
The SIF gives students the opportunity to gain firsthand experience in managing investment portfolios through a semester-long course led by Professor Tally Ferguson, senior vice president of risk management at BOK. Students must apply to join the fund each semester, with 15 to 20 new members selected by the current class membership.
SIF officers lead the fund and carry out their duties following governance documents approved by the SIF board. Like any other wealth management firm, the SIF operates under the guidance of an executive committee.
Students taking the SIF course are usually either senior undergraduate students or graduate students, well grounded in accounting, economics, statistics and corporate finance and investments. Ferguson uses the first few classes to refresh students on investing fundamentals, and the SEO then leads the remaining class discussions to apply those fundamentals to real securities examples. Students also spend several hours training to operate the Bloomberg Terminal, a computer system they use to monitor and analyze real-time financial data. Throughout the semester, class members use the terminal to secure data for analyzing new investment opportunities.
Senior finance and energy management major James Hunter participated in the SIF during the fall of 2017 and says that what he enjoyed most was the real-world, relevant experience he gained. “It’s a good experience and it’s come up in almost every interview I’ve had.”
Becca Mitchell (BA, ‘12; MBA, ‘17) served as the student executive officer (SEO) in the fall of 2017. Looking to change careers, she returned for a graduate business degree at TU. Her focus in the MBA program was finance, and she enrolled in the Student Investment Fund. “SIF gave me the opportunity to gain knowledge and skills I will be applying in my career while also meeting people in the finance industry in Tulsa.”
After graduation in December, she joined the Trust Company of Oklahoma as an investment officer. “I look forward to what the future holds and being able to return to TU as an alumnus to help future TU students as they begin their careers.”