Category Archives: APMP

APMP Travels to NYC

Four students from the Applied Portfolio Management Program traveled to New York City for the Quinnipiac Global Asset Management Education Forum.  This two and a half day experience provided students and faculty from 47 states and 36 countries the opportunity to interact with industry leaders while learning the best practices in investment management. Zachary Bedell, Matthew Mateer, Kendra Rasner and Dallas Bond traveled by car from Houghton Michigan to attend this forum.

The forum included key note presentations, interactive sessions, and networking opportunities.  Kendra Rasner even had the opportunity to close the Nasdaq alongside other students attending the forum.

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Senior Dallas Bond shares his perspective on the experience:

We left Monday March 28th at 2:00 pm, it was the usual trip except we were headed to the big apple. We reminisced in the car and joked around like most college students would. First we had to get through Pure Michigan which takes forever in itself and then we crossed into Ohio and drove the turnpike all the way to Pennsylvania and through Pennsylvania to New Jersey onward to New York.  We had many stops throughout for the usual bathroom break and food. Once we arrived into New Jersey and into New York everything seems so crazy. You’re sitting in bumper to bumper traffic and everything is almost so overwhelming. It can be a bit frustrating but it is a really good learning experience. While in New Jersey and New York once we got settled at the Hotel we used public transportation which took us the first day to get the swing of things but by the end of the week we had it pretty down pat. While in New York we got to see the Statue of Liberty, the NYSE, the Nasdaq, Times Square, Central Park, the Brooklyn Bridge, the World Trade Center, the Empire State Building and just the crazy city that is packed with 8 million people all trying to do their daily routines. Traveling and experiencing a city so big can be tiring and stressful but it also teaches to many different things. It takes you out of your comfort zone and no matter where you travel you always learn something new. You learn more by traveling and doing then by staying exactly where you are. I think we all enjoyed New York but we were also at the end just happy to get back to our lives and be home here at Michigan Tech. Always take the opportunity to journey into a foreign land as it will teach you many lessons you may have not learned otherwise.

 

 


APMP Members ENGAGE in Investment Symposium

April 1, 2015 – With a GDP of over $17 trillion dollars, the U.S. is the largest economy in the world. Despite the 2008 financial meltdown, the US dollar has, and continues to be most trusted currency throughout the globe; helping to make the US financial markets the place where investors turn to for security. As APMP students look to enter the world’s largest and most trusted financialsystem it’s important to venture outside the classroom and learn from professionals first hand. This past week APMP seniors Joel Florek, Yi Yuan, and Yinan Chen when to Detroit, MI for Engage 2015 to do just that.

APMP JoelENGAGE is a two day international investment education symposium. The goal at Engage is to help provide a level of insight into our financial system that students can’t learn from sitting in classrooms. To accomplish this goal Engage brought in some of the top financial professionals in the industry to host Q&A discussions.

For example, Dennis P. Lockhart, President and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta and a 2015 voting member of the Federal Open Market Committee spoke on the Fed’s economic policy decisions from the depths of the 2008 economic meltdown to today. Chaired by Janet Yellen, the FOMC decisions significantly impact not just the US economy, but the global economy. Ultimately Mr. Lockhart made the argument that the actions of the FOMC will be seen as vital to turning around the US economy. He added that within the next 6 to 12 months the FOMC will begin to ease out of its current actions which have been taken to prop up the US financial system. One unique comment from Mr. Lockhart was his cautioning of high US government debt. Due to low interest rates the US has had the ability to borrow high quantities of short term debt requiring small interest payments. As these debts mature, the US will be forced to refinance at higher interest rates hindering its ability to pay off debts.

Additional keynote speakers include Jeffrey Kleintop, the Chief Global Strategist for Charles Schwab and Co., Fred Tomczyk, the President and CEO of TD Ameritrade, and Scott Powers the President and CEO of State Street Global Advisors, which oversees $2.4 trillion in traded funds. Students learned their trading strategies, ideas on the direction of the economy, and career advice to help direct students into the right career paths.

The second day of conference allowed students to break up into smaller sessions that provided more Q&A opportunity. For example, students were able to learn about the CAN SLIM trading strategy, venture capital, hedge funds and received targeted career advice. Thinking back on the Engage experience, Joel Florek said he realized the field of finance is constantly evolving and there is no clear definition as to what one will be doing as a finance professional. Florek said “there is significant room to constantly be learning and changing within the profession. Ultimately, as a finance student ready to go into industry the Engage conference helped to make the lessons learned in the classroom more real, and gain exposure to the flexible ideology that exists amongst professionals.”

This article was written by APMP members Yinan Chen, Joel Florek, and Yinan Chen.


APMP Team Repeats Win in New York City

Cory Sullivan participating in Nasdaq closing
Cory Sullivan participating in Nasdaq closing

March 31, 2015 – It’s been said the only thing more difficult than winning a championship, is repeating. That is exactly what an Applied Portfolio Management Program team from Michigan Technological University has done.

For the second year in a row, the School of Business and Economics’ APMP team won the global investment competition at the Global Asset Management Education (GAME) Forum V, hosted by Quinnipiac University in New York City. The event, held March 19-21, attracted more than 1,200 students from 140 colleges in 40 countries and 39 states.

While in New York, the team participated in the NASDAQ Stock Exchange closing, attended presentations by some of the biggest names in the world of finance and visited with  APMP alums.

Keynote speakers included: Guy Adami, chief market strategist for Private Advisory Group and contributor to CNBC’s Fast Money; Joseph Terranova, chief market strategist for Virtus Investment partners and another “Fast Money” contributor; David M. Darst, former managing director and chief investment strategist for Morgan Stanley Weather Management; Abby Joseph Cohen senior investment strategist and president of the Global Markets Institute at Goldman Sachs; and Tom Keene, editor-at-large at Bloomberg News.

Tech Team

The APMP sent three students to the competition, Cory Sullivan, who participated in the NASDAQ closing ceremony, Heath Johnson and Derek Menard.

The results of the team’s investments were impressive according to Dean Johnson who is the James and Dolores Tretheway Professor in the School of Business and Economics and the APMP’s founding director. He says what sets the competition apart is the fact the students are investing real money–a lot of real money.

“The team manages $1 million through the Michigan Tech Fund,” Johnson explains. “These funds were explicitly donated to be managed by the students.”

He says the APMP team has done well with the fund’s money. Johnson says the team practices the concept of Risk Adjusted Returns, In which an investment’s return is measured by how much risk is involved in producing that return. Even more impressive is the fact the students themselves make all investment decisions. “They have complete control,” Johnson says. “They are hired by the APMP Advisory Board, but the students make each and every decision.

Heath Johnson, the only returning member from last year’s winning  team, says while there was a sense of pressure to repeat, the experience of having done it before was beneficial.

“After experiencing the competition last year I knew that we had to be mindful not only or our returns, but also the risk subjected to our portfolio.” Heath Johnson says.

“Our team really wanted to repeat last year’s impressive performance. Winning two years in a row out of 141 schools was incredibly exciting. We were able to outperform the market through very consistent returns while minimizing risk.”

NASDAQ Closing

Cory Sullivan says the overall experience was impressive on several levels. “From participating in the NASDAQ closing and having my picture appear in Times Square, to receiving advice from the biggest names in the finance industry, I realize the great opportunities APMP provides students,”

Indeed, the students hardly have time to enjoy the repeat victory. Heath Johnson, president of the SBE’s Finance Club and other members of the club traveled to the Chicago the following weekend for their annual trip to visit investment firms. Other members of the APMP traveled to Detroit Thursday and Friday to compete in the ENGAGE Investment Education Symposium and competition, hosted by Wayne State University.

Sullivan says the New York trip is just one of many experiences available to the team.  “We interact with great guest speakers on campus and via video conferencing, but we also get the opportunity to travel to both Chicago and Detroit to interact with investment professionals. “

Professor Johnson echoed that sentiment. “APMP students are gaining the experiences and education to be successful in the finance industry. Indeed, their success is already evident in their investment results.”

This article was written by Mark Wilcox and originally published on Michigan Tech News.


LSGI Stock Competition

Joe Dancy (’76), manager of the LSGI Venture Fund, graciously funded the first LSGI Stock Competition at Michigan Tech’s School of Business and Economics (SBE).  Dancy a long-time supporter of Michigan Tech, was recently selected as a member of the SBE Dean’s Advisory Council.  He believes a finance education is important to any student’s future, regardless of his/her major.

Accordingly, Dancy donated $1,000 in prize money for a portfolio competition held in the Investment Analysis (FIN 4000) course taught by Dr. Dean Johnson.  The course provides an overview of financial products, while discussing the operations of the stock market and bond market.  It also delves into portfolio theory, as well as basic stock and bond valuation techniques.  Students in this class are encouraged to participate in national stock contests.

Most stock contests select winners based solely on the portfolio with the highest return.  This approach unfortunately encourages risk-seeking behavior, which has the potential to send the wrong message to students.  Instead, Johnson was able to tie the stock competition to the instruction in his Investment Analysis course.   At the beginning of the term, students constructed their portfolios from stocks across all sectors in the economy.  After learning the risk-return concept and the mean-variance framework, each student calculated the risk-return measures for their portfolio just like a real world fund.  These risk-return measures include the portfolio’s return, standard deviation, Sharpe Ratio, Treynor Measure, Alpha, Beta, R-Squared, M-Squared, T-Squared and Information Ratio. “The competition was not only a significant experience,” remarked student Caihang Li, “but also encouraged me to better myself.”

In the end, three students, Li, Spenser Eller, and Heath Johnson, came out on top based on their portfolio’s risk-adjusted returns.  For example, Eller was able to turn a hypothetical $100,000 into $108,834 in eleven weeks versus $101,435 for an investment in the S&P 500 Index.  More importantly, his portfolio’s Sharpe Ratio was five times higher than the S&P 500’s Sharpe Ratio!  Eller expressed immense gratitude for Dancy’s contribution that made this possible, stating “The money will be put to good use, and the experience that I have gained will be invaluable.”

The SBE, Johnson and the FIN 4000 students would like to thank Mr. Dancy and the LSGI Fund for their continued support in our students’ financial education.


APMP Scores Big… Twice!

The Applied Portfolio Management Program is one of the most unique student organizations on campus.  Every year, two teams each comprised of six students are selected to create stock market portfolios using $1.3 million of real money.  These students have the opportunity to use one of two Bloomberg Terminals in the Upper Peninsula, right in their very own LSGI Trading Lab.

Senior APMP team member, Mason McGrew, utilizes the Bloomberg Terminal in the School of Business and Economics

APMP has always been considered successful, but 2013 was a banner year for the team.  Director Dean Johnson described a return of 29.66%, with a standard deviation (aka risk) of around 1.7%.  Senior Brett Ludwig reminisced about the teams’ investments in 2013, stating, “It was really cool to watch the stocks go up, and tough at times not to sell others.”  With a portfolio that grew in one year from $397,000 to $515,000, the Gold Team recently participated in two global investment competitions.  It may come as no surprise that they walked away with not one, but two victories.

After APMP member Heath Johnson appeared on the Market Site display in Times Square and closed the NASDAQ on Wednesday, March 19, it was announced that the team had won the 2014 Quinnipiac G.A.M.E. IV Forum investment competition in the value category.  This achievement was particularly impressive considering that there were over 1,000 participants from 118 colleges and universities!

Most recently at the 14th Annual Redefining Investment Strategy Education (RISE) competition on March 28 at the University of Dayton in Ohio, team members Ludwig, Nathan Sturos, and Judy Isaacson were on hand to snag the first place title of Gold Portfolio in the Value Investment Style category.

Competing at RISE in Dayton was the icing on the cake after APMP’s successful year.  Their dedication won them the ultimate Gold Portfolio, and Sturos remarked, “It was a humbling experience to be recognized at such a distinguished conference.”  Isaacson was proud of her team and grateful for the “great opportunity to see many different perspectives on the world of finance… and it was a fun experience!”

Are you a current student interested in joining a future APMP team?  The APMP application is available online!  Interested in becoming a student in the School of Business and Economics?  Apply for free today!