Published on November 19, 2020 by Morgan Black
Launched in 2008, the Bulldog Investment Fund is a student-managed fund taught as a course in Samford University’s Brock School of Business. Student managers are accepted into the course each semester through an application and interview process. Once selected, undergraduate and graduate students have the opportunity to learn the science and art of investment management through confronting real market issues, discovering and analyzing real stocks, and investing real dollars of the University’s endowment currently valued at nearly $2.4 million.
The fall 2020 Bulldog Investment Fund managers are senior finance majors Alex Gibson and Mariah Host; senior finance and economics majors Josh McDonough, Cassidy Goble, Chandler Crews, Austin Falconer, Haven Voorhees and Bo Davies; senior Brock Scholar Sam Katulich; senior finance and accounting major Ashton Roetto; and Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) students Natalia De Ugarte Munoz, Arthur Fisher and Cindy Oest.
Each student is assigned a stock market sector to oversee. These sectors include financials, energy, consumer staples, consumer discretionary, utilities, industrials, materials, information technology, communication services, health and commodities. This arrangement allows the individuals to focus on researching stocks in their own dedicated sector. Then, when a proposal is made from a student managing another sector, the entire class collectively votes on the proposal to buy, sell or hold. This allows the students to make informed decisions that are best for the overall fund.
During the fall semester the students had the opportunity to share their work with younger aspiring investors. In a presentation to Mountain Brook High School’s senior finance class, a group of Bulldog Fund managers answered questions the students had about investments. Their presentation included details about their respective roles on the fund, how they pick their investments, and overall facts about the stock market.
Goble said, “The purpose of the presentation was to familiarize them with our group and the opportunities available for Samford students. Although many of them may not ultimately enroll at Samford, we know that introducing them to the importance of investing early would still be relevant and helpful to them in the future. They seemed really excited to see that our group had beat the S&P benchmark thus far in the semester.”
Here, a few students share what they’ve learned through participating in the Bulldog Investment Fund course this semester and the real-world experience it provided them:
This semester in the Bulldog Fund I have learned not to fear risk. I am in charge of managing $0.8 million in information technology stocks, which are precarious by nature. In the past, I was afraid to take chances on investments and always tried to diversify in order to “hedge my bets.” However, this semester I have grown in my understanding of thoroughly evaluating companies and then making “all in” decisions. Committing to an investment strategy is imperative to get the greatest return. While it is important to acknowledge the risks related to each stock, if one evaluates a company and believes there is potential for a reward that is worth the risk, invest, invest, invest!
The Bulldog Fund has taught me to have confidence in my investment decisions. As the manager for the communication services sector, volatility was a major concern for me when making investment proposals, and this issue was only compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic. During the beginning of the semester, I would second guess myself often, fearing a dip in an investment reflected poorly on how I was managing Samford's funds. However, as the semester progressed and I continued to learn and be put in situations where I would be required to make important decisions, my confidence grew, and I learned how to deal with uncertainty and bad news. Although I understand not every investment decision I make will be the correct one, I can have confidence in what I have learned and the growth I have experienced in my financial management abilities.
This semester of the Bulldog Fund has opened my eyes even more to the world of investments than I could have guessed heading into this awesome opportunity. While I have interned as an investment analyst before, it is a completely different experience being a fund manager where your sector is on the line and your name is tied to it. In addition to exploring how my own style of investing attributes to a fund, one of the greatest benefits of the fund was coming to understand how the members around me invested and how to best manage an important responsibility selflessly for the good of the group. There is no replacement for real-world experience, and the Bulldog Fund delivers it perfectly.
To learn more about the Bulldog Investment Fund, see here.