Samford University’s Board of Trustees recently approved an increase to $1 million in the Brock School of Business’ student-managed Bulldog Investment Fund in total. The increase was approved primarily on the superior performance of the fund since its inception in February 2008. According to a 2007 survey of student funds, the Bulldog Fund is now among the five largest such funds in the southeast, and is the largest in Alabama.
"The Bulldog Investment Fund is one of the best practices I can point to in the Brock School of Business. It gives our students the opportunity to face real-world challenges, handle real money and make real decisions based on the choices and challenges they may face,” said Dr. Andrew Westmoreland, president of Samford University.
The Fund was created last year to give select students hands-on experience in making investment decisions. The fund’s initial balance was set at $400,000. Since the fund’s creation, it has outperformed 97% of other similar professionally-managed funds, and has surpassed the S&P 500 Index total return by more than 13 percentage points.
"I am gratified by the support we have received from the President and the Board of Trustees. The $1 million threshold allows us to increase the breadth of educational experiences, and that amount has a nice ring to it,” said John Venable, faculty advisor to the Bulldog Fund. “We believe the students’ interest in the Fund and in the Brock School of Business will grow exponentially."
Students eligible for this experience complete required business school courses such as finance, accounting and investments before applying. Admittance to the management team is by application and interview, and students receive course credit for their efforts.
Once accepted, students become fund managers and work as a team to make investment decisions. They also make regular presentations to the Investment Committee of Samford’s Board of Trustees about the performance of the fund, as well as answer hard questions about the investment choices they make. “In every sense of the word, students run this fund. They and they alone make all investment decisions. There have been times when I’ve wanted to jump in and veto some trades, but the results thus far are impressive,” said Venable. “If you give students ownership of an activity such as the Bulldog Fund, they will almost always rise to the challenge,” said Venable. “In our case, the students chosen for this course have far exceeded my expectations. They have done a wonderful job."
Dr. Beck A. Taylor, dean of the Brock School of Business added, “The Bulldog Investment Fund represents the best of active learning opportunities available to our students. It has been fun watching the student managers take ownership of the unique experience they have been given."