Day: March 31, 2011

APMP Speaks on International Investment

Jake Calrson, interviewed on TV6 Monday, March 28, 2011.Republished from TV6 News.

HOUGHTON — Buy?  Sell?  Do nothing at all?

The stock market, at times, can seem like a bit of gamble, especially when events around the world rattle markets.  It’s certainly been an interesting few months for students participating in Michigan Tech’s Applied Portfolio Management Program (APMP).

Each year the group oversees the investment of a $1.3 million university endowment fund.  And this year they’ve seen a lot of activity in the market.

“We are down since March 11th when the earthquake happened, but we expect that to come back quickly,” says senior Jacob Carlson.  “Right now is actually one of the best opportunities to earn money.  There’s a lot of potential.”

The students say they’ve hedged their risk by holding a diversified portfolio.  They’ve got about 35 securities and are always considering new investments.  In fact, they’ve been eyeing a few Japanese companies for several months and say the disaster’s financial impact isn’t all bad.

“Japan has kind of become a pretty big opportunity for investors that are looking for something that’s slow right now and will increase in the future,” Carlson says.

Edward Jones financial adviser Bob Nelson agrees that global thinking is a great way to survive inevitable sell-offs.  He encourages his clients to stay calm, pointing out that uncertainty is sometimes worse than actual bad news.

“Be careful of what the crowds do because they’re typically wrong,” says Nelson.  “The answer is don’t guess on any one play, be diversified.”

Nelson also cautions people to pay attention to the decline of the U.S. dollar.

He says his firm recommends people invest 30 percent of their portfolio in non-U.S. holdings.

Other tips include:  talk to a friend or adviser who can be objective about your money, and consider all aspects of a company (long-term performance, dividends, etc.) before deciding to buy or sell.

What’s the (Business) Plan?

Photos courtesy of Kayleigh’s Photography. Story originally posted in Tech Today. Written by Dennis Walikainen, senior editor, university marketing and communications.

Students participated in the second annual Business Plan Competition Tuesday night, and great ideas were flowing in Fisher 139.

Sponsored by the Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation and the School of Business and Economics, the competition featured future businessmen and women promoting their ideas in front of a panel of judges, who had previously reviewed their written plans.

The five-minute pitches covered a broad range of business ideas, and the winning plan was Books With Purpose by Jodhbir Singh, master’s student in EE, and Aman Bamra, bachelor’s student in CS.

“Books With Purpose would be India’s first nonprofit online bookstore,” Singh explained. “Thirty-five percent of India’s population is illiterate, and we would help address this problem by donating one book to under-supported schools for every five we sell.”

Singh and Bamra would approach India’s middle and upper classes to support their mission and their business, especially targeting rural areas, where illiteracy is more prevalent.

They took home $1,500 in cash and $2,700 worth of local consulting services: logo, accounting and legal services for their winnings. Singh planned on returning to India after graduation to pursue the business.

Two Bows, a company founded by Jessica Tompkins, a junior majoring in management, took second place in the competition and was familiar to the crowd. She won the Elevator Pitch Competition last fall with her business, which creates hunting apparel for women that could also be worn elsewhere.

Targeting “outdoorsy females, ages 12 to 50, in the northern states,” Tompkins has already started producing demos of her clothing to further pitch her idea, including the blouse she was wearing.

“We would eventually like to expand our online e-commerce sales and even donate proceeds to families of breast cancer patients and the Dream Hunt Program for terminally ill children,” she said. Second place garnered her $500, which she said she would reinvest in the company.

Third place and $250 went to Collin Stoner and his company, Selene, which will manufacture electric motor drivers. He has already been working with a company called Medical Minds to promote his device, which could be used to move the beds in CAT scan machines, for example.

“I’ve spent 400 engineering hours on making the prototype,” Stoner said. “And each one would have its own, unique computer chip, making duplication by competitors difficult.”

Other businesses pitched to the judges were retirement planning for lower income and middle-class people who might have fallen on hard times; cloud computing with improved information gathering; and a social network site for environmentally conscious people and organizations.

Bob Mark, professor of practice in the School of Business and Economics, who emceed the event, doled out the cash to the students and announced that there are plans for a major increase in funding next year, in cooperation with Central Michigan University. Mark sees the beginning of a mutually beneficial relationship with Central, with expanded entrepreneurial opportunities and other academic relationships.