2018 has been a period of uncertainty and volatility, including two major market corrections in one year, making it a dynamic learning experience for the students managing Bryant’s Archway Investment Fund (AIF). Bearish reversals in February and this fall provided dramatic real-world bumps that teach students in the immersive two-semester course how to navigate unpredictability, according to Professor of Finance N. Asli Ascioglu, Ph.D., Coordinator of the Archway Investment Fund and the Financial Markets Center.
"It’s a 100-percent student-managed fund and the students have done a very good job for many years."
Through immersion in a state-of-the-art financial markets environment, AIF students learn to manage an investment portfolio following the principles used by financial professionals around the world. Expert faculty guide them as they develop the skills and investment best practices to manage that portfolio.
“The amount of money that students manage, $1.7 million at the end of the 2017-2018 academic year, is significant, and they take very seriously their responsibility to handle it carefully,” Ascioglu notes. “It’s a 100-percent student-managed fund, and the students have done a very good job for many years.”
The distinctive Archway Investment Fund program, established in fall 2005, contributes to graduates’ ability to hit the ground running in finance and finance-related fields after earning their degrees, an important competitive advantage as they launch their careers, says Ascioglu.
New addition: Fixed Income portfolio
A tremendous recent addition to the program, Ascioglu says, is the Fixed Income portfolio initiated by Executive-in-Residence Kevin J. Maloney, Ph.D., P’16, an accomplished scholar and finance industry executive. It launched in October 2017 with an initial capital contribution of $500,000, with half contributed by the University and half transferred from the fund’s Equity portfolio. “This new opportunity is a very important element of our program,” notes Ascioglu. “There are only a handful of universities doing a fixed income program.”
Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) investing, introduced by Ascioglu to the portfolio, also offers new opportunities. During a job interview last spring, Scott Tibert ’18 set himself apart from other candidates by highlighting his involvement with responsible investing.
Professor Ascioglu pointed with pride to several other significant AIF student achievements, including:
- Winning first prize in growth portfolio (2017) and first prize in multi-asset portfolio category (2018) among more than 100 student-managed portfolios at the Global Asset Management Education (G.A.M.E) Forum, a conference in New York offering concurrent sessions in investments topics
- Having two AIF students named SRI Scholars at the Sustainable, Responsible and Impact Investing Conference held in San Diego for asset managers in the industry.
She’s perhaps most proud, however, by the AIF students' skilled management of the fund. They "know they have a responsibility to Bryant University and to future Bryant students to manage this money wisely,” she says.
That sentiment runs deep – even after graduation. Ascioglu never tires of hearing “the Archway Investment Fund was such an important part of my education. How can I help current students?” from AIF alumn working in finance around the country. Such connections enrich students' experiences and help them build a powerful network. As guests in the classroom, over dinner, or at special receptions, AIF alumni generously share their experience and expertise, she says.