Student Asset Management Fund gives students valuable business experience.
What do you get when you mix tens of thousands of dollars, a bunch of college students and the stock market?
It’s not a recipe for disaster. It’s the Student Asset Management (SAM) Fund.
The SAM Fund is one of Liberty University’s most exclusive groups. Each week, 25 students gather in the Jerry Falwell Library Scholar’s Lounge to present research and plan the club’s next moves.
These discussions are significant because Liberty has placed tens of thousands of dollars in the hands of these students to invest in the stock market.
“We look for hardworking, driven, capable students,” said Ben Henderson, vice president of the SAM Fund.
The exclusive club, made up of mostly business and finance majors, is structured like a real investment bank. There are positions for analysts, directors and managers in addition to the several interns working toward a permanent position in the club.
“Due to the limited membership and the amount of people who apply, it’s very competitive to be offered an analyst position,” Henderson said, “We like to keep it this way.”
One of the interns, sophomore finance major JT Bicket, and other interns must go through the six-week application process which includes a stock report pitch and interview. Bicket hopes to gain experience that will prepare him for a professional career in business finance.
“It’s real world experience. We’re working with real money in the real stock market,” Bicket said.
Interns work in groups alongside official SAM fund members to find companies worth an investment. Students then present their findings to their peers at the Tuesday meetings to decide where the money should go and how much.
“We look at companies and see which would be a good candidate to purchase stock for. I would research their financial history and any recent developments as a business,” Bicket said.
The application process gives these interns a chance to show their strengths and prove their ability to be a full member of the club.
“They kind of get an idea of how much effort and energy I put into my research, Bicket said. “They also get an idea of what my commitment level is and what I’m competent in.”
When the SAM Fund began at Liberty five years ago, the university gave them $50,000 to invest in the stock market.
Since then, these funds have circulated through the stock market and back into the club to be invested again. According to members, the club currently has more money than they started with.
Henderson is optimistic that the SAM Fund will gain more exposure as Liberty grows.
“I think, in the future with the new School of Business, the fund will hopefully grow and more people will hear about us,” Henderson said.