Millikin course teaches students how to invest money and manage risk
The Tabor School of Business provides a number of hands-on learning opportunities for Millikin University students to understand successful business practices.
One of the unique course experiences that Tabor offers is the Tabor Investment Portfolio (TIP), a student-managed investment portfolio of securities. The portfolio serves as an educational vehicle providing students with a live laboratory for learning how to invest money and manage risk.
"The students analyze a portfolio and they evaluate the securities of the portfolio, and they make a decision if they should buy new stocks or sell," said Dr. Najiba Benabess, dean of the Tabor School of Business.
The portfolio is managed under the guidance and supervision of the Board of Trustees and Dr. Benabess. Dr. Benabess and Daniel Allen, adjunct instructor and a 1986 Millikin graduate, teach the course. Allen is a retired chief investment officer who previously worked for State Universities Retirement System of Illinois and Illinois Power Company.
"This class gives students real life experiences in managing an investment portfolio," Allen said. "Currently the portfolio is at approximately $250,000 in assets which are domestic equities and the portfolio has had a strong year as a result of the market run-up. During the semester, the students will make modifications as they feel are appropriate."
The course started in 2010 with an initial funding of $100,000 allocated from funds raised through Project Confirm by Millikin University.
"We're putting Performance Learning to work. It's active management, we're investing in real stocks," said Carrie Barrick, a senior mathematics actuarial science major from Mt. Zion, Ill. "More importantly, we're learning life skills and we need to understand how to value companies and value everything that they are doing. Whenever we buy or sell a stock, everybody has to agree."
The students report their progress to the Board of Trustees. Their most recent presentation was made in November 2017.
"This is real money, this is the Board's money and this is a component of the foundation portfolio," Allen said. "This is reported at every Board meeting on how the performance is doing. The students have been through a very exciting time in the market and I think it's been a great experience."
The TIP experience is incorporated into the existing three-semester Finance course sequence through the Tabor School of Business curriculum.
"We have a good mixture of people in the course," said Logan Talkington, a senior business management major from Girard, Ill. "It's not just finance students, there are mathematics, business management, accounting and marketing majors. It gives us different aspects on what we see in a stock."
Dr. Benabess says the course is unique because it helps the students connect the dots between what they learned throughout their freshmen, sophomore and junior years.
"That's the beauty of this course. The students use economics, finance, politics and all kinds of disciplines to understand how the portfolio works," Dr. Benabess said. "The students are learning from a different angle and seeing it from a different lens, and to me that's remarkable."
Talkington added, "The class has given me an all-encompassing view of how to understand the financial market."
Millikin University's Tabor School of Business is committed to providing students with the skills they need to solve complex business issues with support, coaching and personalized attention. Students engage with excellent faculty who are fiercely committed to teaching, work with real clients and create real businesses. Tabor School of Business students make connections in the business industry through consulting projects with national and international business partners, participating in student-run ventures, internship opportunities, visiting speakers, cross disciplinary learning and much more. For more information about the Tabor School of Business, visit millikin.edu/tabor.