Finance Learn By Doing Projects
Through Cal Poly’s Learn by Doing philosophy, the Orfalea College of Business strives to incorporate opportunities for experiential learning in education. Here are some of the Learn by Doing opportunities within the Finance Area.
Student Managed Portfolio Project
The Student Managed Portfolio Project gives a select group of senior finance students the responsibility of managing nearly half a million dollars of Corporation funds — and with it, managing the ups and downs of an ever-changing stock market. Each year, the new crop of student fund managers assesses the portfolio from the previous year’s group. Fall quarter is dedicated to conducting due diligence while developing a strategy for the coming year. In winter and spring, they research new investment opportunities and manage their stocks accordingly. Students are given access to guest speakers to advise them on their investment selections as well as industry-grade news publications to stay on top of the major political and macroeconomic factors affecting the market.
The Orfalea College of Business has conducted the SMPP as the capstone experience in the finance concentration since 1992. The class is patterned after a real-world relationship between a client (the Corporation) and its adviser (the SMPP students).
The CFA Charter designation is the “gold standard” for finance professionals worldwide and requires passing a series of three rigorous exams. Being considered a CFA Charterholder is a designation that affords professionals greater employment opportunities and salary potential. Cal Poly students prepare to take their Level 1 exam as part of the senior project CFA Challenge, which is an intense, self-directed study of financial ethics, economics, accounting and quantitative methods. Students also have the opportunity to participate in the CFA Institute Research Challenge, which is an annual global competition that provides university students with hands-on mentoring and intensive training in financial analysis.
Since the establishment of the CFA Challenge at Cal Poly in 2007, the course has grown in size each year, including undergraduate and MBA candidates in the Orfalea College of Business. Each year, those students have outperformed the national pass rate of the Chartered Financial Analyst Exam by significant margins.