“Buy”, “Sell”, “Hold” These are phrases people commonly associate with investments. Recently, as part of Whitman’s experiential learning program, we served as portfolio managers over millions of dollars in virtual money. We had to pick investments weekly and were judged on our analysis.
As part of our Investment Analysis class, we worked with alumnus Mark Rossano of First NY Securities. He set up a virtual account where we had $5 million in money. Our group of six people were divided into different research areas – Special Situations, Energy, Technology, Healthcare and Commodities/Macro Economic Trends. Each week we brought new ideas to the table and had to be prepared to defend them to Mark. Friendly banter was always exchanged and we were thoroughly grilled, as Mark has an almost encyclopedic knowledge of the investment landscape. For my particular area, macroeconomic trends/commodities, I played off the events of fall 2012, including the presidential election, the attacks in Benghazi and our warm/snowless winter. From this, I had the biggest gain of the class, from shorting natural gas. I also had the biggest loss of the class; going long on the volatility index due to the fiscal cliff fears. We ended with a small profit over the course of the semester.
Thanks to this class, I was able to increase my technical analysis knowledge for reviewing market tendencies and put academic financial knowledge for risk management into action. Along with my summer internship working on a trading floor, this class and experiential learning project was reaffirmation that this is what I want to do with the rest of my life.