Investment Club proves you can make money without exorbitant bonuses
May 14, 2010
Phil Brozynski, Media Relations Manager
Give a group of college students $100,000 and you might wind up with a dance party on the beaches of Panama City, Fla. featuring Pitbull and Ludacris.
Give a group of Benedictine University students $100,000 and you will find yourself holding a stock portfolio that would make a veteran investment firm envious.
The Investment Club at Benedictine University is a student organization entrusted with portion of the University’s endowment fund. Club members decide when and in what to invest the money, how much to invest, when to be cautious and when to be aggressive, and any other decision an investment firm might make.
How successful has the Investment Club been? Since 2002, the S&P 500 index has risen 7 percent, while the value of the club’s portfolio has increased by 54 percent.
During the 2009-2010 academic year, the Investment Club has operated under the steady leadership of club president Patrick Caulfield, the son of Mary Caulfield of Chicago and a senior Finance major from LaGrange, and vice president John Glen DeCanto, the son of Deborah and John Glen DeCanto and a senior Finance major from Naperville.
Jim Burner of Edward Jones and Jeffrey Madura, a professor in the Undergraduate Business and Management department at Benedictine University, serve as the club’s advisors. But the ultimate decisions are made by the students themselves, who meet regularly to discuss where best to invest the University’s money.
The club has made several investments that have exceeded expectations, DeCanto and Caulfield said.
“We invested in Apple in December 2009,” Caulfield said. “That stock has performed the best in the least amount of time. It has increased in value 31 percent in just four months. The club has made a lot of good choices, but that is certainly the flashiest.”
DeCanto pointed to McDonald’s and Synaptics, Inc. as other shrewd choices made by the club.
“The club initially purchased McDonald’s in 2000 and it has produced a 90 percent return,” he said. “Synaptics, which makes touch screens, has returned 120 percent since the club first purchased it in 2004.”
However, DeCanto and Caulfield admitted that for every wise investment, there are some that are better left not made. The two students said at one point earlier this year, the club considered investing in BP, which has been at the center of a firestorm when its oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico exploded creating an environmental catastrophe. BP stock has fallen 14 percent since the accident.
Instead, the club opted to invest in a company that manufactures parts for drilling equipment.
“We were looking at BP when it was selling at its high,” DeCanto said.
Like Caulfield and DeCanto, most members of the Investment Club are Finance majors. However, the club is open to any student at Benedictine University regardless of major.
“The club was created for all students,” Caulfield said. “Everybody is welcome. Somewhere along the line, no matter what your major is, you will have to make some decisions about what to invest your money in, whether it is a 401(K) or an inheritance. This is a great way to learn about the best way to become informed about making those decisions.”
Both Caulfield and DeCanto will turn over the group’s reins shortly, but believe that participating in the club was a wise investment in their education.
“This experience has given me some confidence and faith in the market,” Caulfield said. “A lot of investors are reluctant to put money into the market. But there are opportunities there. Gains can be made.”
DeCanto hopes to use his experience with the Investment Club when he finds a position in the business world.
“It’s been a great experience going forward,” he said. “It takes some homework, but it’s fun to see when you are right about an investment a couple of months later.”
Fun, and profitable.
Benedictine University is an independent Roman Catholic institution located in Lisle, Illinois just 25 miles west of Chicago. Founded in 1887, Benedictine provides 56 undergraduate majors, 16 graduate and four doctorate programs. The Chronicle of Higher Education
recently ranked Benedictine University as the seventh fastest-growing campus among private nonprofit master’s universities, and Forbes
magazine named Benedictine among the top 20 percent of America’s colleges for 2011. Benedictine University’s Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) program is listed by Crain’s Chicago Business
as the fourth largest in the Chicago area in 2011.